I am beginning to hate gadgets of all kinds, simply because it’s impossible to be content with the device you have for more than a couple of weeks. Apple updates its iPhones and iPads and operating systems on roughly that schedule, and it looks like Amazon is now willing to play by the same rules. You get one thing out of the box and it’s time to go stand in line for another. The smart thing would be to purge my iGoogle page of those stupid tech updates for awhile and check back in a year or so.
As it stands, my neat little Nook is crushingly obsolete at the age of about two months. I’d have gotten rid of it already, except today is garbage day and I forgot to put it in the trash, where all obsolete devices belong.
I‘m kidding, of course. While the Nook has its little quirks — really clunky browsing and searching being the worst — I have to mention again that I actually kind of like it. For reading in bed, it’s better than a book. I’ve found myself reading more in the last couple of months than I have in the last year, and reading a far more varied selection of titles. Used to be, I just waited for my brother Mike to bestow his used paperbacks on me, and since he loves crime fiction, that’s what I’d read too.
But there’s another downside: I’m spending more on books than I used to. Quite a bit more. I know: That’s the idea. Apple, Barnes & Noble and Amazon must be delighted that we are all apparently willing to pay as much for e-books — which require no paper, binding, shipment or storage — as we do for the old kind. Each time tech writers experience a collective orgasm over the newest device, it’s good to keep in mind that these things aren’t designed to make our lives better. They’re designed to facilitate consumption, to further erode the barrier between impulse and gratification, between corporate coffers and your credit card. Hey, I’m playing along.
But I’ll be damned if I’ll upgrade my e-reading hardware any time soon, just because it’s in color and plays Angry Birds and buys stuff without allowing a few moments for self-reflection. We buy the booze and then we’re supposed to pay extra for the bottle it comes in. Not just now, thanks. If my Nook browsing seems a little poky now, maybe that’s a good thing.