Phil Dunlap, Western Author

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I've been as much to blame as anyone, I suppose. I've fought the trend toward e-books for the same reason everybody else has: everyone loves the feel of a paper book and the smell of ink. Yeah, sure, me too. But I'm not such a dolt as to believe it is my sole responsibility to hang onto tradition in the name of saving an industry, or keeping our bookstore community alive. No, that hasn't been my rationale. Nobody has ever loved spending time browsing bookstores more than me. I could almost be considered a fanatic at picking up the latest tome, reading the back cover, flipping a few pages, maybe even starting to read the first chapter. I love the printed book. But, I can also commiserate with he who loves reading but dislikes the thought of trying to carry six hardcovers through airport customs, stuffing them under the seat in front of him, then struggling to squeeze one out for the long trip home. And I do mean struggle. Have you forgotten that clown in the next seat forward that has leaned all the way back, to the point of almost snoring in your face? Okay, paperbacks are some consolation, but what about the very light e-readers that are available? And their ability to store thousands of books? That's the argument of the techie generation.

Well, that hasn't been for me; I've been solidly in favor of sticking to the tried and true. The bound paper book with pages I turn manually, then turning back to see where I missed that last clue or a name that I must have forgotten. So easy, so user-friendly, so me. Where's this going, you ask? Well, I'll tell you, but some of you will stand and cheer while others will undoubtedly curse me under their breath. Here's my confession; remember, you had to pry it out of me. I, uh, have fallen prey to, uh, the weaker part of me. I've gone to the dark side, that of e-reading. Why did I turn traitor? Simple. And it's the easiest thing for an American to understand. After shopping at a Borders that is closing in my city, I stumbled upon an irresistible situation: a brand new, unopened Kobo. The last one in the store. It's a nifty e-reader with e-ink (no glares) and a nice capacity for huge book storage, takes epub downloads and is so easy to use. I bought it. Why, you ask?

I'm an American, and it was only $49.00. Wow!

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