Do you remember when getting a new book you wanted to read meant getting in your car and driving to a bookstore, going in and then hunting the aisle containing the genre your coveted book was in, hoping the store had it? If you were lucky, they had it. You could scoop it up and head for the counter to pay for it. You could pull out your debit card to pay for it, or if you are even older than I, maybe it was cash or check instead.
If you weren’t lucky, you would be standing there, staring half-heartedly at the shelf. Maybe you were at least able to find a few of the author’s other books. Maybe they were copies of books you already bought and read. Often they were different titles, but not the one title you were looking forward to getting. It meant enough to you that you got in the car and drove across town to try to buy it.
It meant you had to go to the counter and ask the clerk if they could order it. It meant going home disappointed, with a piece of paper with your order number to wait for the store cashier to call you when it came in. If you were like me, you ended up buying other books you hadn’t come in for, because they looked good too, and well, you were already there, and if you didn’t get it now, it might not be there when you came back.
Next thing you knew, you were going home with $200-$300 dollars worth of books that you would then have to figure out where in hell you were going to put them all. You look at your overstuffed shelves when you get home and realize you really need to buy another bookshelf. Maybe it’s a second bookshelf; maybe its a 10th- you have your own private library going on, and shortly you will need a bigger apartment; or a house.
And you are probably kicking yourself because that was a lot of money to spend on books. You could have used it for something else; like new clothes, new tires to replace the bald ones on your car. You could have used it for a healthcare insurance plan or a savings account. But no; more books. Like you don’t have a few hundred other books already. Books that collect dust and require semi-regular cleaning.
Then some company shows up with a new product that promises to make things simpler; easier, more convenient; and you think to yourself, ‘Self, this little thing might replace books soon.’ And you are the type of person who still gets teary-eyed every time you think of that famous library at Alexandria that got burned to the ground by Julius Caesar; and it’s second library destroyed by Christians (evil bastards) out to erase paganism.
Fast Forward some 15 years and no telling how many hundreds of dollars later and e-books have pretty much made the chain bookstores less numerous than local libraries (go libraries!!). These little electronic readers aren’t exactly cheap, but neither are bookshelves, or gas for your car. And you aren’t coming home with hundreds of dollars worth of books you didn’t go out to get in the first place and minus the ones you did.
I was introduced to the wonders of e-books by my Mother who was an avid reader her whole life. She had a treasured and well loved Nook until it finally gave up its little electronic ghost in 2015. Heartbroken at it’s demise we looked for a replacement but by this point think Nooks were no longer being made. She settled on an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Shortly afterward I opted for a refurbished Amazon Kindle Fire.
And I have been happily hooked ever since. I still have books; and bookshelves, but I am back down to a manageable number of both and my book purchases don’t involve me wondering how I will pay bills for the month. I don’t have to drive out to a bookstore and hunt around. I don’t have to ask anyone to order me a book they decided not to carry because they decided to stock everything else by that author instead.
I am not carrying off six other titles I decided I would get because I was already there and so were they. Amazon, THANK YOU. You make my life so much simpler; and you keep me from getting too out of control on my spending while I am at it. If I can’t afford something right that minute, I just put it on my wish list for later and get it when I can. How did I ever survive without you before?
Cheers and thanks for reading!