Monday, September 6, 2010


I'm something of a Luddite, with the operating word being 'something.' We had a computer, and at least one video game system, in my house pretty consistently growing up, and I love my laptop dear. But on several fronts I've been quite stubborn to get with the program, partly because of cost, but also the usual resistance to lifestyle and social change that new technology brings. I refused to get a cell phone until two years ago, and the one I have is a very basic old model, a flip-up with low-res photos and texting, but little else in the way of special features. I've only ever scoffed at eBooks, and I have at least a couple hundred CDs--only a handful of which I've ripped onto my computer--and no iPod. A cafeteria Luddite, one could call me.

Circumstances may be changing that. After a year at home in the mountainous West since graduating, I'm making plans to move out on my own. I'm not yet settled on a destination, but I'm pretty set on it being somewhere on the East Coast or thereabouts. Being so far from home and with the possibility of having to do a lot of moving, this means light packing, which means a severely diminished library (I can bring my CDs easily enough). The Kindle, the Nook, even the iPad(!), are no longer off-limits.

But I'm torn, for all the usual reasons. I like having an individual object with pages that I can mark or flip back to at a moment's notice, that can be autographed by the author, and not just a bunch of 1s and 0s on yet another piece of electronic hardware. I like seeing what other people are reading and want them to have that same opportunity (my brief conversation with a fellow Gatsby reader wouldn't have happened otherwise). I don't like giving someone the ability to delete selections from my library. And I don't want my "books" to be outdated once a new model of the eReader is put out on the market. Also, I've still got a half year or so left on my Amazon Prime membership, which means free shipping.

And yet I'm going to be building my library from scratch, and with an eReader I'll be able to take it all with me wherever I go, new titles will be cheap, the Kindle has exclusive short stories, and I'm sure there are other perks of which I'm not even aware.

Just looking at that list of pros and cons it looks like I should stay with books. But I'm still not sure. So anyone reading this--and it really could be anyone, at least someone, I hope--I am seeking input, in my first bleg, on what I should do. Stay traditional? eReader? Both? Any neat or heinous things I should know about? If I make the switch I probably won't do it for a few months, not until I'm secure and established wherever I am. And money will be an issue. But I'd like to start thinking about it now.

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