A, B, C, D, eReader

When it comes to technology I’m a late adopter, and not even a fashionably late one at that.

Take this blog, for instance, which I started in 2011. And now that I’m finally blogging, everyone else is twittering.

My latest techno-tardiness is the eReader. While everyone else is out getting their iPads, Kindles, and Kobos, I just got a library card. As a voracious reader, the accumulation of books, even used ones, was getting really expensive and I was running out of room for them on my sagging bookshelves. As much as I love books, I realized I didn’t really need to own the entire Shopaholic series (in hardcover no less), I just wanted to read them. What better way to do this than to borrow them!?

Walking into the Riverdale library, a breezy fifteen minute walk from my house, I was immediately impressed. The thirteen year old behind the counter gave me the grand tour which consisted of a fiction books section AND a non-fiction books section. Amazing! Even though she explained the mechanics of the library I still felt uneasy at the checkout counter.

“You mean I can just take them?” I asked, “Like both of them? For free?”

I had grown so accustomed to standing at the bookstore for hours agonizing over which of two books to buy-the one about the thirty-something British girl with a bad job and bad boyfriend who quits them both, lands her dream job and marries her strapping boss OR the one about the thirty-something North American girl with no job and no love, who starts a successful business, begins dating her gorgeous best friend for whom she always pined away, they quickly marry and move to England.

I couldn’t wait to share the news with my brother Geoff, the brightest bibliophile I know and my fellow book club participant (the club consisting of me and Geoff). Except Geoff got a Kindle for his birthday a couple months ago.

“I can take out up to 15 books at a time,” I told him, “for free! That’s like all the Jane Green books and Emily Giffin books combined!”

Geoff rattled off all the amazing features of the Kindle, including the fact that he can download any book he wants at any time for very little money, how transportable it is, how easy it is to read in bed and the awesome sound it makes when it “turns” the pages. I kept going.

“Did I tell you that I can return a borrowed book to any public library location? Not just the one I got it from?”

It was no matter though, while sceptical at first he had become an e-convert. I’ve always looked up to my two older brothers and I wanted to be on the same page as them (pun intended), so Geoff’s changeover unsettled me initially. Were eReaders really that good? Didn’t books lose their potency reading them on screen? Besides, eReaders couldn’t replace the friendly sound of your fellow library readers, could they? That feeling of being part of your neighbourhood?

No, they absolutely couldn’t I thought the next day, returning my library books. To reinforce my point I decided to take my latest reads to the large space marked “community room,” so I could get to know my literary community.

The room was empty. The silence though was broken by my phone. I fumbled around trying to answer it while balancing all my books, attracting pernicious stares from library staff.

“You’re at the library?” asked my Dad, “Really? I just got the Kobo. Did you know that it comes installed with 100 free classics?”

I couldn’t believe it. My 60-something year old Dad was ahead of me. My Dad! The man who has yet to really master the computer mouse and who once referred to my blackberry as a pineapple, had an eReader!  I realized I need to start showing up earlier to the techno party. I dropped my new books in the library’s deposit slot on the way out the door. I’ve decided to get an eReader. But I can’t afford one just yet. First I have to pay off all my overdue library fines.

For those of you with eReaders I’d love to hear from you. How awesome are they?