Lapsed Luddite: I Downloaded the Kindle App to My iPad
Now there’s a lapsed Luddite sentence for you. I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPad. Those of you who are gleefully tech-enthused probably don’t understand what the big deal is, but when I made the leap, it seemed huge.
I’m supposed to be, at the very least, leery of technology. Judicious in my choices. I still am. But I’m also still conflicted. The iPad was a gift—a company bonus. This Luddite gal didn’t plunk down money for it. I’m not sorry I have one, and I don’t feel the need to defend it (much). It’s a tool, to be used or abused, much like most technology.
The lapsed Luddite confessional, though, comes because I am specifically using this electronic gadget, apparently, to read books. What will become of my beloved paper-filled books? Books that travel to and from dwellings and offices all over my fair city and wind up on my nightstand or coffee table or desk through the wonderful inner workings of the library.
The book magic that hums through a library still enchants me. So much I can call up just by saying the word library. Walking through the awe-inspiring downtown library in Seattle, craning my neck to read spines on the shelves in elementary school so I could learn more about ciphers and codes—what happens to the sights, sounds, and smells of those giant rooms of books (the ones in my memory and those that are still around) when books become electronic?
In the professional sphere, I love the trends of self-publishing and e-books. Electronic publishing creates accessibility. Suddenly, an author with a dream and a big idea can go from start to finish and produce a book, in whatever form, without begging for the middleman of a traditional publisher to accept the dream on sight. With more access, more writers can and will publish, and, the theory goes, more writers will need editors (like me) and lots of others who are on the content crew to polish and distribute.
But, when it comes to my personal world of book consumption, I do feel like an old-fashioned gal sometimes. I have drawn a line in the sand. I haven’t quite gotten used to the idea of picking up the iPad to read a fiction book. No. No fiction on the iPad. Something about the flat screen and bright words—I feel so disconnected from the tactile experience of following a story arc. Strange, though, because I certainly edit fiction electronically and have no problem absorbing myself in the story. But, contrary to what you may have heard, editing and reading are two very different acts.
There is no room for late adopters when it comes to technology in the dynamic publishing industry. We’ve moving along at a breakneck speed (for example, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post last week). In the midst of all this change, how can I justify clinging to my Luddite ways?by