Joining the electronic library

Published 6:46 pm Friday, June 3, 2011

At our house, this week, we purchased our second Kindle e-book reader. The first Kindle was a Christmas gift last year, bought from while we still operated the bookstore.

Heresy, you might say.

Here we were, attempting to keep people reading real books, challenging the newest phenomena in electronic book reading, the e-book from both and Barnes & Noble.

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But the world moves on, and we should too.

The e-book has become quite the popular item. You can load a lot of stuff on them, carrying thousands of books in the body of a 6-inch device. One person came into the bookstore last year, a world traveler in his job, spending months in the wilds of the most wild spots on the planet, but takes his e-book reader along, loaded with current best-sellers plus books needed for his craft. Beats lugging all those heavy books in a suitcase.

As we get ready to take a 17-hour plane ride both over and back to Italy, the spouse, who always has her kindle in her hand, said “Do you have some books to read on the airplane?”

“Books my foot,” I said. “I’m going to get a Kindle.”

It’s no secret that sales of e-books by both and Barnes & Noble are wrecking printed sales at book stores. Both these giants have the markets to themselves. As a former owner of a community bookstore, the likes of which are fading all across America, I looked and looked for ways to stocks these devices in the store. No luck.

Over the past several years, I had noticed an absence of many loyal customers. These were folks who were avid readers, and good spenders for the newest books on the market.

Seeing one of my former customers in the supermarket one day, I said, “Gee, haven’t seen you in quite a while. You must have a Kindle?” To which they replied, (and it was no surprise), “Yes! And they are wonderful.”

Then there were loyal customers who said they could never get used to an e-reader. They had to physically hold a book in their hands. (Lovely people).

But it was inevitable. It’s a revolution in book reading. And if it gets people to read more, if the convenience of it gets them into subjects they never might have gotten into by themselves, then let’s be for it.

I could never understand people who would say to me proudly, “I don’t read books.”

Mostly men. I would try to suggest something that I thought would spark their interest. There’s lots of men’s books with great stories, themes I know that would hold their interest. But nope. No thanks. “I don’t read books.” Sad.

If you want to know the technology how e-books work, you have to be a computer nerd. Who wants to know anyway. All that’s important is that you use the device to improve your mind, remove stress by relaxing with a good story, getting lost from your real world for a few hours. will tell you they are now selling more e-books on-line than printed books. Barnes & Noble believes their Nook will save their company from bankruptcy.

If you are interested in acquiring one of these e-books from either source, there’s lots of discussion and reviews of all devices on-line to help you make a decision on which is the better buy. Actually, both are good buys, it just depends on personal choices.

So as our upcoming date approaches for those long flights across the Atlantic, I am taking along “The Greater Journey” by David McCullough, “The Sixth Man” by David Baldacci and “The Fifth Witness” by Michael Connolly including copies of “The Wall Street Journal” and “The New York Times.”

If that’s not enough, I can download in a few minutes a few more items while we are in the air.

Happy Reading and Bon Voyage.