Well, sometimes I’m an e-reader.
And, despite the headline here, I'm not calling for an E-Readers Anonymous group to be formed. But is a guilty apology necessary if one shifts, occasionally, from the paperback/hardcover format to the e-reader for book reading?
Well, maybe “guilty apology” is a bit dramatic. But with the plight of bookstores these days, I do feel a modicum of guilt at using one of the presents that Santa brought me this past Christmas.
But after almost two months of using the Barnes & Noble NOOK, there’s no hiding from the fact it brings a certain convenience.
For example, I’ve recently finished reading the last of the Parker series of mysteries written by the great Richard Stark (pseudonym for Donald Westlake). All 24 of them. The University of Chicago Press has done a great job with the re-issues, adding informative introductions by Terry Teachout and Lawrence Block, among others.
However, while I purchased hard copies of the Parker books for the first 21 in the series, the final three, for a reason no one has explained to me, are only available as fairly expensive out-of-print editions; unless one is lucky enough to find used copies. Alas, none of Boston’s excellent used book stores had them.
Yet, via NOOK, these last three Parkers were all available as e-books. So a click or two and there they are, delivered right to my desktop (NOOK-top?).
So I wondered if I should perform some act of private apology and buy something … anything … when I next visited my bookstore.
Then I looked around my residence. I’ve got the new Walter Mosley book. And next to it, is the recently purchased (and just-finished) copy of “Jambalaya Justice” by Oak Tree sister-in-crime. Holli Castillo. (And, by the way, Holli, it’s terrific!)
What else did I find? Other favorites were strewn about here and there. (I’m more Oscar Madison than Felix Unger, as you can tell.) James Lee Burke. Henry Chang. Hank Phillippi Ryan. Others.
So am I an e-reader? A book buyer? Or what?
The hell with it. I’m like the rest of you – I’m a reader. Like I’m a music lover. Maybe my vinyl record days are over but I still buy CDs at least—as well as download material here and there.
Do I feel guilty when I pay for and then download a couple of songs from iTunes? Nope.
But why am I kind of, sort of on-the-verge-of guilty if I download those Richard Starks—or something else—to my e-reader? And should I be?
As they say in college essay exams … discuss.
— JOE NOWLAN