Weathering the Kindle storm

Those who know me, know I despise the new Kindle and other such gadgets. Call me crazy, but reading involves more than just words on a page, or as in today’s reading society, words on a tiny screen. It invokes memory and imagination, not just from the interpretation of the words but from the full experience of holding a book in ones hands, the smell of the pages, the sound of the binding…I could go on and on. Reading is tactile. It involves all of ones senses.

So someone please explain to me how you can get all of that sensory overload from an electronic book medium.

Many of my friends, who shall remain nameless in their betrayal, love their Kindles and such. So, it’s good to see someone out there is in my corner. This is what I received in my Holiday Notes from Watermark:

The book business has always been under some kind of black cloud.The swirling storm of the electronic book medium is one we treat the same as Kansans treat a tornado warning.  Go outside and see if we can see it.  We never do.  We hear it, we see the devastation, but few of us have actually seen the storm.  I find this similar to the news I hear about Electronic Books.  That is, despite the warnings of the physical book being lost in the vortex, book sales at Watermark Books & Café has been up by double digits this year.  Business is up at my colleague’s stores across the country.  Barnes & Borders were supposed to sweep us away when they blew into town, and news of their companies is not so good these days.  The storm is out there, but not in our front yard.   

 Don’t get me wrong; tornadoes and the fragile future of the book are real to me. I just think the end of the physical book is farther off than the news and buzz would have us believe.  Book clubs continue to thrive.  Readers meet authors and want to have a physical connection to that experience. Books still change lives and will continue to do so because of the intimacy of reading—of losing oneself deep inside a story.  A well-loved book is a precious thing. 

Well said, Sarah.

One thought on “Weathering the Kindle storm

  1. Okay, guilty as charged. In my defense however I do “swing both ways”. Given my druthers I prefer an evening like last night when everyone had gone to bed and left me with a great book (hard cover please), a Labrador snoozing by the fire, glass of Bombay, and a comforter. Akin to this pleasure is the first step in the process, the shopping for the book. The perfect scenario is a snowy day and the long slow walk to Watermark through College Hill (especially at Christmas time). The store itself is inviting with the great windows, the smell of coffee, and the pleasant staff.

    Now to the dark side. One downside of my life is the necessity of air travel. Forget the TSA pat-downs and the novice travelers mucking up the security screening process. It’s the squeezing of a 6” 2” frame into the ever shrinking seats. Long gone are the days of extra seats available and the thoughtful flight attendants who would steer me to the exit rows. No, those are now a $40 – $50 up charge thank you very much. This is when the Kindle shines. The ability to have several books, magazines, and newspapers all in a compact package that can be manipulated in a tight space is a God send. Then toss in the obese passenger next to you (who must raise the arm rest in order to fit) pins your elbows with their flesh while balancing their tomato juice directly over your suit and white shirt, well you just have to have a Kindle.

    In a small, but significant nod to our love of books we have outfitted our Kindle with a nice leather cover.
    I know, it’s still cheating but it least it makes us feel better.


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