Here! Borrow my screen! It’s fabulous!

For several years now I’ve been developing a bucket list… those important things I want to do between work-life and final address change. Joining a book club was up near the top. So is catching up the kids photo albums… honestly, they’ve spent the last half of their lives as jpegs, but that’s another column. Lots of things on my bucket list, that’s for sure. One was that, once I retire, I’m going to join a book club.

And then two years ago I got two phone calls from two different women inviting me to join the same book club. But I’m not retired. I can’t possibly fit one more thing into my life! I thought, ‘if this is so important, why am I waiting? I should make time!’ And so I joined 13 women and for the past couple of years have mostly kept up my part of the bargain.

We’re pretty diverse, this group, ranging from 20’s to 70’s, all kinds of career types, some employees, some self employeds, some retired, some new moms, some grannies. We meet monthly; we set up a reading schedule a year in advance and each member gets to suggest one book title per year to read. We each host a monthly dinner and book club night is certainly an eagerly anticipated pause.

Many of us love the printed page, smell of ink, feel of paper, heft of book. Many of us have gone to e-readers, thrilled we can carry thousands of books in our purses. Some of us are doing both.

I’m doing both. My Sony reader is now over a year old. I’m able to download books from Barrie Public Library and put them on my reader and they just disappear from my reader two weeks after they arrive there–one of life’s mysteries.

Here’s what I love about the reader. I can enlarge the font size and change the reader from horizontal to landscape so I can read just about anything. I can download music to the music part of the reader, plug in my earbuds and listen to music while I read. Very nice. I can hold an 800-page hard cover book with one hand, clicking my way through pages instead of propping it up on a pillow on my stomach. I hope I drop neither book nor reader into the bathwater!

Here’s what I don’t like about my reader. I can’t lend or give away my book. I can’t write an encouraging note in the frontispiece.

Some people say e-readers are destroying the publishing industry. Some say they’re saving trees. I think you can always come up with a sentence that supports any theory. I like my reader for some things. But I like real printed material for other things. It’s that simple.

Publishing will change because of e-readers, but writers still need to be published; they need isbn numbers; they need to be catalogued in libraries. When radio was invented, we could suddenly hear music in our living rooms. Did orchestras go away? Did symphonies cease to exist? Did choirs fold? If anything, ‘live’ music is more prevalent than ever.

I think it’s the same with books. The potential for e-readers is enormous, especially in the educational field. But the reality of publishing will continue in its art form.

I hope.