Monday, August 25, 2008

The Virtual Book


I love books. My wife said recently, “I don’t know if we have room for another book in the house!” Of course, she loves books, too, and has an extensive collection of children’s books that she has used in teaching over the years and shares with our grandchildren. We are readers. We have read to our children, and we now read to our grandchildren. I always have at least one book or magazine with me to read in spare moments.

When I was in seminary, I enjoyed browsing the library. There were always unexpected discoveries and insights. Although I visit libraries from time to time now, my browsing takes place more often these days in a bookstore. I am in something of a transition, however. Today I tend to buy my books on line. In fact, I may find a book in a bookstore and then buy it through Amazon.com (sorry, Barnes and Noble) because I can get it at less expense.

The transition from bricks and mortar bookstore to online bookseller was a precursor to my latest change—from paper book to e-book. The TCBF Coordinating Council recently gave me a Kindle—the e-book developed and marketed by Amazon.com. It is wireless, so you can download books directly at less cost than a paper book. There is a way to “highlight” sections of the book and make notes (which I love to do in paper books that I own). There are other advantages, too, but I will stop before this becomes a full-blown commercial.

So I am “beta-testing” the Kindle (or is it testing me?). As I have used it in several public places, I have had questions about the device. A couple of young adults were even a bit envious that I had one! When I was asked, “Do you like it?” I responded, “Give me six months and I will let you know.” I appreciate the gift and the opportunity to experiment with a new delivery system for the written word. I’ll let you know if it “takes.”

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