If you are old enough to know that 2 bits refers to two coins which together equal 25 cents, you’re probably not reading this blog. Then again, 2 bits has achieved stardom in The Urban Dictionary, so who knows?
Over Spring Break, I trooped all my boys down to get their moppy hair cut (which cost substantially more than 2 bits) and brought my nook along for entertainment. Instead of reading (really, what was I thinking?), I had a fascinating discussion with Dark Omen about Leviathan and the beasties therein. One of the manifold benefits of reading my kid’s books has been the great discussions we have about them. Somewhere in the middle of that, a polite young man interrupted and asked to see my nook.
This happens all the time. Wherever I go.
There’s always the gadget appeal, where people peek over your shoulder at your new gadget, while trying to pretend that they are not. Since half the fun of having a gadget is
showing it off sharing it with others, I happily discussed the nook.
This particular young man was more than just idly curious. He was actively in the market to buy one, and proceeded to grill me (quite nicely) on the functionality and features of the nook. As I mentioned before, the nook has an annoying tendency to freeze up when I’m showing it off (something about rapidly switching between screens that it simply can’t handle), and then turns it into a very attractive paper weight (cue: irony). But he and I were undaunted, and continued to discuss the future of e-readers and e-book pricing and the fabulously hilarious nature of Scalzi’s blog, Whatever.
Two things struck me about this encounter:
1) Who says men don’t read? This young man was late teens/early twenties and clearly thought an e-reader was economically beneficial, given how many books he read in a year.
2) Young people are going to lead the way with e-readers. Just as they lead with other tech, young people are willing to spend their disposable income on the latest gadget, just to try it out. If the price comes down at all, the e-readers will be flying off the shelves.
My fervent hope is that e-readers will actually increase the number of books that get read, as well as more easily connect readers and writers. What’s more, e-readers provide a way for people to talk about reading, and books, and writing, by bringing something shiny and new into the musty world of books.
It’s books for the new millenium, and it just might save the industry.
Also: I downloaded a 1921 book The Craft of Writing to my 2010 nook, free from Project Gutenberg. It was jarring to hold the scanned replica of a dusty tome I could have checked out from the ancient stacks of my college library. There is something to be said for paper, as Ink says, after all.
I wonder what the kids will think, thirty years hence, when holding a paper book startles their reality and they think, “Hey, here’s a paper version of the book I’ve had on my e-reader for ten years. How odd.”
Have you had any e-adventures yet?