D. F. Krieger

Friday, January 14, 2011

Virtual versus Tangible

E-books are all the fad right now; from Nook to Kindle to E-reader.  Not only are they popular, but the publishing companies who specialize in their formatting are rising steadily in sales despite the economy.  I don't want to talk about how well it's selling though, we can get those facts from any regular article.  I want to talk about something completely different; the emotions surrounding them.

Why are people attracting to e-books?  That is something that I pondered over while I played with my husband's Nook. The only thing I found intriguing on the device was playing round after round of Sudoku.  I did recently read a couple of books on it, and I was pleased with the stories, but I didn't see the appeal still.  So I went to the source in my house and proceeded to extract information from him.

My husband takes his Nook to work with him daily.  He's in the military, but between watch shifts he gets a decent amount of downtime.  During this downtime, he likes to read.  (Yes, I'm very aware how lucky I am to have a book worm for a husband!)  When I asked him once why the Nook and not just a book, he pointed out that not every book fits in those pants with the many pockets he has to wear.  I hate washing those pants!  There's always a pocket in those fatigues that I forget to check and it ALWAYS seems to have a pen stashed in it.  Any way, back to the point; the Nook is small enough it fits and gives him a great amount of convenience.  I suppose I understand.

I guess my hesitance in throwing myself head over heels into endorsing the e-books has nothing to do with the books size, cover, etc.  It is something so much more out-dated then that.  I have several books on my shelves that have a special inking inside the front cover that warms my heart when I look upon it...A signature.  A genuine author's signature.  It may be silly, but having a book signed by the writer just means the world to me.  And I don't care who you are, or what you write; you sign it for me and I'll keep that sucker FOREVER.

Now, I admit, I'm not sure if they've found some way to sign virtual books.  It seems possible considering there are so many other things you can 'virtually sign'.  I know we did it for our federal tax returns last year.  But it just doesn't feel the same to me.  Honestly it feels more like a cheap imitation. 

I do like that a lot of e-publisher's also offer printed books.  The solution to my personal dilemma is pretty obvious.  When I find out about a book signing, even if I bought the e-book, I should always be certain to attend to get that extra special paperback.  I pray publishers never eradicate tangible books completely, or I am certain I'll be stalking quite a few authors with a piece of paper until I get their signature!

~ D. F. Krieger

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