A Bibliophile’s Lament

Okay, I get that e-readers have enormous potential and are very popular right now. I have friends who have tried to convince me to buy a Kindle, and all along, I’ve declared that e-readers just aren’t for me. I love holding a book in my hand; I love browsing shelves of books–new or used, library or bookstore; I love the smell and feel of old books and discovering a really pretty copy of a favorite book on a used bookstore shelf. However, there’s one aspect of book-reading that I never even considered that I would miss with an e-reader: page numbers.

I don’t own an e-reader yet. But for simplicity’s sake (and cost-effectiveness), I downloaded the free Kindle application for my MacBook. The book I’m reading for class this week, called The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth, apparently only exists in current print in one edition that costs $26. Rather than buying a copy through the university bookstore, I decided to download the free copy for Amazon’s Kindle. Though it’s a bit inconvenient to have to read off my computer screen, that’s preferable to paying all that money for a book I’ll probably only read once anyway.

Still, I lament the loss of page numbers. In digital form, I have to measure my reading progress by a bar on the bottom of the screen, not the thickness of the pages still left. I also find that I like to know how many pages are in a chapter before I commit to reading it. It’s not as much fun push a button on my keyboard as it is to flip the pages in a book.

I really, really, really love books. And while it’s entirely plausible that I will one day in the relatively near future own an e-reader for the simplicity and convenience, I also know that I’ll never, ever give up my book-owning fanaticism. Or my love of page numbers.


An update, of sorts. I realized that I haven’t updated my blog in 16 days. I don’t know that I’ve ever gone that long without blogging since I began a year and a half ago. My apologies.

I’m sitting in Coffee Underground. I never come here, but Laura asked me to join her, so I did. Coincidentally, Michele and Stephen called from Atlanta, asking me if I could potentially meet up with Kevin to give him a ride. He was at Coffee Underground. I have probably now fulfilled by CU quota for a year. Or not.

I’m typing on my new MacBook, and wow, there was no transition to that idea at all. Here’s how that event went down:

All afternoon/evening yesterday, I tried to open MS Word to begin drafting two essays that I will workshop on Thursday in class. Word would open long enough for me to type half of the MLA header before freezing. That’s no way to write an essay, I tell. I tried to repair the installation, and it gave me an error message, telling me I was not authorized to use it with my username. I uninstalled and reinstalled and got the same message. I tried to repair again. Nothing.

I called Dad. I was frustrating. Crying, even. I knew I wouldn’t have decent access to a computer until tonight, when I planned to head to NGU to work from there. Then, Dad says, “Why don’t you just go buy a new computer?” First of all, the fact that I live in a culture where it’s that easy kind of baffles me. Second, I had been considering buying a new computer with my refund anyway.

I went through all the options: I wanted a Mac, but I was hesitate because I know next to nothing about how computers operate. I had done little research, and I actually planned on purchasing one later in the summer. Instead, I grabbed my hoodie and headed out into the rain, frustrated at my ancient HP laptop and wondering if I was crazy for going to look at Macs.

Do you have any idea how popular Macs are? I honestly didn’t realize how extreme the cool factor is. At Best Buy, no one was looking at PCs or netbooks. But people were crowded around the Mac table, testing out the iPhone and iPad and MacBook. And it was obvious that none of them were serious shoppers. They were merely blinded by the glitter and, dare I say it, sexiness of the Mac.

Finally, space cleared, and I stepped up to the MacBook. I clicked around a little bit, but I’ve used Macs enough now that I’m familiar enough not to need the basic tutorial. What I wanted was someone to answer my serious questions: warranty info, compatibility of MS Office, that sort of thing. A Best Buy worker was standing at the end of the table, though, answering inane questions about his iPhone from people who had no intention of purchasing last night.

Then, a guy stepped up and asked, “Anything I can help you with?” And that’s when I met Jake, the super cute and helpful Best Buy salesman. He showed me really awesome features, things I didn’t even know about, and convinced me then and there to buy the new 13.3″ MacBook Pro with iWorks and the Advanced Geek Squad warranty plan.

Sadly, the MacBook Pro just came out with a new model, and though Best Buy had only sold a few of them, there were none left in stock. So I decided on the regular ole white MacBook, which is all I wanted anyway. And I walked out, called my dad, and said, “I now own a Macbook.”

I’m a convert. Of course. I love this machine. And I’m searching for reasons to visit Best Buy now. 🙂