A few weeks ago I was sitting in an airport, thumbing the keypad on my Blackberry at the speed of light, when a lady standing near me commented—”Can you imagine what life would be like without those gadgets?”
Without looking up, I blurted, “Yeah, we might actually have one.”
A long pause, then she chuckled. A small half-laugh that held an undercurrent of resignation, one that said, Yeah, I know what you mean, but what can we do?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against new technology. What I have a hard time wrapping my brain around, though, is how some of these gizmos, which were supposedly created to save us time, wound up taking up more of our time? And they not only take it, they demand immediately attention, like a bratty kid pitching a fit for a candy bar in a grocery store. All those bells, whistles, buzzing, snorting, bee-bopping, raps and taps, each alerting us to emails, texts, phone calls, and heaven only knows what else while we’re eating dinner, watching a movie, or even sleeping. And like that’s not bad enough, once those suckers have their hooks in you, it takes major willpower to break away from them. Ever try to stay away from emails and the internet for a week? Tough, ain’t it?
But I guess, like with most things in life, there’s some good and bad, give and take with each of these gadgets. My personal challenge with them has been perception—and reality. Without question, they often have me overwhelmed and overworked at times. And that alone has kept me from reaching out to embrace yet another new fangled piece of technology that seems to be all the current rage—the Kindle.
When the reading units first came out, the reviews were pretty good, most people touting the virtues of their convenience and ease of use. As good as the reviews were, though, I shook my head and reached for a nearby book, happy for the feel of the paper between my fingers and the smell of the ink on the page, something I knew no electronic reader could give me. I used other excuses to stay away from the readers, as well. Like I hate reading from a computer screen. The glare kills my eyes. Not only that, Kindle sales reduce overall revenue to authors because the cost for a book’s Kindle edition is lower. Even worse, the sales for these units are not accounted for by BookScan, which is a relatively new sales measurement system being used by editors and agents in the publishing industry. With all of that in hand, I held fast to my convictions . . . until recently.
As this very moment, sitting at the corner of my desk, is a box from Amazon. It arrived at my office half an hour ago, and it’s still unopened. —SIGH— Yes, this is my confession—I fell prey to Amazon’s incessant, glory-rallying advertising of their latest and greatest—Kindle 2. No glare or eye strain they promise. 16 shades of gray give a reader the illusion they’re reading from an actual book. One quick click of a button and the pages turn as they would between your fingers. No computer connection needed to download books as the K2 contains its own wireless system. AND, of course, don’t forget that by using a K2 you’re helping to save the planet. Save the tree, the spotted owl – – the red-breasted, wooly mammoth caterpillar! Yep, they knew all the right things to say to break down many of my defenses. So, I gave up the ghost and bought one. Never thought I would. Actually fought the inclination like a cat trapped in a shoebox, but—obviously—like that same doggone cat—curiosity won out. —SIGH
I can’t give Amazon all the credit for my moment of weakness, however. The airline mentioned above played a part in it as well, with their $25 per checked bag policy and $50 for anything over 50 pounds. Add to that smaller allowances for carryons, and it was getting to the point where I had to often times decide whether to bring the two paperbacks I’d been reading or my shampoo and cream rinse. The books or a blow dryer. The books or my makeup bag. Argg!
So, here I sit, staring at a yet to be opened box, wondering if in buying this new gizmo I’m not cutting off my nose to spite my face. The read might be easier and the pages might turn faster, but no one’s touched the issue about revenues and sales numbers for authors. And what about the feel and smell of an actual book? Nothing can give a reader those sensory pleasures but the real deal.
Oh, well, too late now. It’s a done deal. So–sigh—GRIN–here goes nothing . . .