In 2007, I recall emphatically saying that I would never have an eReader. At the time, I worked at Borders and the company hadn’t yet finalized a deal to sell them. As much of a technology geek as I am, I didn’t have the heart to consider something that seemed like such a threat to bricks & mortar stores (and my continued employment).
Fast forward to 2010 and I was part of the latest round of corporate office layoffs. A few days later, still shell-shocked by sudden unemployment, UPS left a package at my door. I opened it to find – an eReader device! A very good friend had decided I needed it as I started my next chapter. And he was right.
To my surprise, having an eReader didn’t mean the end of my bookstore purchases – even when reality hit that I no longer had an employee discount and access to lots of free books. It has allowed me the convenience of buying a book at 3 am in my pajamas and the ability to keep a bookcase worth of reading material in my backpack. But as anyone reading this knows, an eReader isn’t a substitute for the experience of a bookstore.
I read more now than I ever did and have become more adventurous in my choices. As convenient as my eReader is, I still visit a bookstore every week. The town I live in now doesn’t have one, but there are several bookstores a few exits away on the interstate.
Nothing can replace the smell of books and the comfortable weight of one in your hand as you flip through the pages. I love the feeling of making new discoveries browsing from section to section; buying books online will never match it. As I sit and look through my potential purchases, I periodically hear snippets of conversations of booksellers making recommendations or helping to find a particular title. (“The author was on The View. I don’t remember the title, but it has a blue cover…”)
Sure, I buy eBooks; I spend more on real books. I’m happy to find that there’s room for both. On a side note, I’ve been trying not to say I will never do something, unless I really feel confident it’s truly not likely to happen. I have too much evidence (a tattoo, for example) reminding me of instances where I’ve had to eat my words. I’m sure I can find a self-help book on that…
Post by Mary Fitzgerald, optimistic member of the Marketing & Communications Committee.