eBooks. The new and exciting way to read. The newest gadget acquisition for our gadget-obsessed society. Right?
Well, it just so happens, that I was into eBooks years ago. It’s not new, it’s just the new fad. I had a Palm Pilot in my pocket before smartphones, ipods, or any of the other recent additions to the pocket gadget world. Heck I had a Palm back when people thought that having your own cell phone was hip. Back then, I was well ahead of the curve. Few people even knew what a Palm was and even fewer had one. Basically, I was into eBooks when eBooks weren’t cool! Now, I’m a grumpy old technophile who is griping about the price and the limitations of the newly popularized eBook readers.
I remember when most eBooks were far cheaper than their paper counterparts, when most of the ones you bought were formatted in such a way that you could read them on multiple devices without trying very hard because there were one or two (freely available) readers that worked the best on any device. I miss those days.
Now, I have a Nook. I waited till the second generation, until my family forced my hand by jumping into the eBook reader abyss and therefore forcing me to join them or be deprived of the ability to read all the new eBook they were purchasing. It works great and is even a decent replacement for a real book. It had minimal downsides and annoying superfluous extras. I am impressed.
But, it laughs evilly in my face when I propose the unthinkable—that I would like it to read all the old eBooks I have collected over the years. When I plug in “The Gunslinger” which I paid plenty of money for and bought in the formerly common format for the formerly common software known as eReader, the Nook smugly informs me that it does not recognize the format and will not open it. I can just hear it mocking me What kind of barbarian are you? Do you not understand that your primitive formatting is not worthy of recognition! Bow to the Nook and repurchase your books in ePub format or die!
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point. Once again, the early adopters, the very people who made a technology viable by buying in early are being slapped in the face and punished for making a tech popular. While all my friends go gaga over their new eBook reader and how wonderful it is, I just sigh at their ignorance and resist the urge to explain how it was in the “good ole days.”
As for me, I’ve still got my old Palm (another sad loss to the techy world) and though I have finally caved and bought a Nook, I will defiantly read my old eBooks in spite of the Nook! It can have my eBooks when it takes them from my cold, dead, Palm!
My final comment is this. It will never be able to truly replace the real thing. I proudly read a paperback trilogy, on vacation, while my family all read their Nooks. I reveled in the extra weight, space, and hand-cramping that it caused—their ridicule only made it all the sweeter. I even bought a hardback the other day, because of all things, I liked the cover! I will read it and enjoy it and someday I will be smothered under a mountain of books. But hey, that’s a pretty cool fate.
Till batteries never die!