Monday, January 2, 2012

Becoming an eReader

I love technology...really, I do. When I think back to doing research papers in high school - having to go to the library, search the card catalog, find a book, use the index to find the information I was looking for, take NOTES, write or type the report on an actual typewriter (no backspace, no delete, no CTRL+Z), it floors me how easy things are now with the Internet. I can find out just about ANYTHING with the click of a few keys. I've Googled myself into panic attacks. Facebook? My name is Nancy, and I am an addict. But reading a book on an electronic device? Hmmm...I'm not so sure.

Part of my resistance, no doubt, stems from the fact that the availability of information online is probably the number one reason I am no longer a reference book editor - a career that I loved that spanned more than half of my adult life. It was work I enjoyed - I loved researching cities around the U.S. and compiling information for people who were planning to visit and/or relocate to those cities.  I got to work full-time AT HOME from the time I had my babies and (this part really stings) made quite a bit more money than I do now (which, if you've ever worked in publishing, wasn't much by today's standards anyway). Don't get me wrong - I love what I do now (and that job wouldn't exist if it weren't for the Internet), but it's not quite the same as what I had. 

How did I gather all of this information? Well, in the beginning, I requested literature from convention and visitor's bureaus and chambers of commerce. Took an occasional trip to the Main Library on Broward Boulevard and hung out with some pretty unique individuals for a few hours each day. Did my research the old fashioned way! After nine to 12 months of research, writing, editing, proofreading, etc., I had something tangible to show for it. I have my own "page" on WorldCat Identities and! You can do a search for me on Amazon and the books I edited come up! Some guy named Charles McCool even gave Traveler's Sourcebook four stars! (Incidentally, he only gave What Sucks About South Florida: The Travel-To, Move-To Guide three stars!) I don't know who Mr. McCool is, but I sincerely appreciate his review! Rob always referred to my books as "doorstops," which I guess is pretty much all they are good for at this point, but they gave me a sense of accomplishment. As the years went on, the Internet exploded. My job got much easier, BUT it was a total Catch-22! The need for reference books dwindled as the "Information Superhighway" took over. 

So, you can see why I was not among the first to jump on the Kindle/Nook bandwagon. I have been an avid reader my entire life. When I have free time, there's a very good chance you can catch me curled up in a chair on my balcony reading. It's truly one of my favorite things to do. Rob has been asking me for a couple of years if I wanted a Kindle or Nook, since I read all the time. I always told him, "No. I like having an actual book in my hands. I don't think I can read the print on a tablet!" (I do tend to check out "Large Print" books from the library, prompting Bob to ask me on a recent flight, "HOW OLD are you?" LOL!) So, when a new book comes out that I want to read, I place a hold on the library website, and every few weeks, I go pick up a new book to read. It's a system that has worked well for me.

The week before Christmas, my kids started hinting that they got me something really cool that I was going to LOVE. I had told Rob (as I have for the past six years since the economy went down the toilet) that I didn't really want anything for Christmas, so I had no clue what it could be. I knew he and Chase had gone to Big Lots the weekend before (which scared me), and I mentioned this to Alana. She told me that they did buy me something at Big Lots (lucky, lucky me!), but that there was something else...

Christmas morning came. The kids, Makani and Rob opened their presents and then it was my turn. The gift that my kids were so excited about was an Amazon Kindle Fire. I had seen the ads on TV and thought it looked pretty cool. Maybe I commented on it at some point. In any case, it looked like I was going to have to step into the Digital Age and become an eReader like everyone else. 

It took me forever to figure out where to go to download free books (I was determined not to pay for a book that I'd read one time), and finally settled on a short story available for free download by one of my favorite fiction authors. I downloaded it. I fiddled with the settings and realized that I could adjust the screen color, the font and the type size. Heck, if I wanted, I could have the print so large, only three or four words fit on the screen! (My eyes are really not THAT bad. ;) ). I finally got everything so that it felt just right, and I sat outside on the balcony and read my eBook. It wasn't so bad after all. 

I have since discovered how to "check out" eBooks from the local library, so I've put a bunch on hold (which makes absolutely no sense to me, since it's all virtual anyway). I am currently reading the actual print version of The Help, because I had already placed a hold on it at the library (and I REALLY like reading an actual book!), but I promise that my next book will be read by "Fire" light. 

Between you and me though, I feel like I'm cheating on my doorstops (which, by the way, if you need one, you can buy one on Amazon for $1). ;)

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy.

1 comment:

  1. You're going to love the Fire, Nancy, whether it's for e-reading, Web surfing, or watching a video. The convenience of packing a ton of books in one device is amazing. Enjoy!