Toaster Tuesday is a series of posts about ereaders, specifically my experiences as a new Nook owner. The concept was partially inspired by a show called Battlestar Galactica. Basically the antagonists in the story are the Cylons, who are robots. The humans like to call them Toasters. I figured since there is a dichotomy between organic and electronic in the book world as well, I’d play with the idea and (affectionately) refer to my Nook as a Toaster. (Her real name is Ariadne, though, thank you very much.)
That’s me hanging with Ariadne, Homer, and the Gutenberg Bible at the Huntington Library.
A small field trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino with some fellow MFAs and friends made me think about book-ish things. For one, I couldn’t pass up the photo op you can see above. (Nook vs. Gutenberg Bible… WHO WINS?!) For another, where does history go when it’s all electronic?
For all of the positive aspects of owning an ereader, I think that old cliche of a strength also being a weakness applies here. Let’s be honest. You guys see how many paper books I deal with in real life from my Beg, Borrow, and Steal posts. And those posts don’t include what I deal with when I’m working in the library. So obviously I am invested in the paper side of the publishing industry. Yet I’m not shy about loving on my Nook for the ease of reading, convenience in purchasing, selection, and the ability to carry my whole library with me in the palm of my hand.
But when it comes right down to it, I can’t let go of paper books. I want the beautiful covers, the physical presence, the ability to see a personalized inscription and autograph on the title page. And of course that book smell we all love. When I look at old texts like the Gutenberg Bible, I wonder how people are going to be able to look back at certain texts of our day centuries or even decades from now. With everything digitized, will they see history? The original manuscript? Or will it just be a few megabytes on a flash drive somewhere?
How do you put that kind of thing on display and have the same aura and power and grace as the Gutenberg Bible?
It’s just not the same. Which is why even though my Nook is a winner and I still love it, I will never stop supporting the physical book industry. We need books and bookstores and libraries to take up space, even if it’s a hassle that they take up space. Paper trails are far more interesting than electronic ones. At least, I think so. I want to have my own physical library, even if I already have one on my Nook.
So this week organic gained some points and electronic is holding steady. We’ll see how the next round goes!