The Books of Samuel T. Cogley
I work in Talk Radio, so I hear a lot of what we call “Features” including the daily dose of technical advice from one Kim Komando who informed me this weekend of that which I knew about five years ago, Best Buy sucks. Basically Best Buy has become the showroom for Amazon, which combined with their legendary shitty customer service goes a long way to explaining the moniker but doesn’t explain how they are still technically in business although in fairness, it doesn’t seem like Best Buy is long for this world).
At any rate, I found myself this week not at Best Buy and their books, but at a local Barnes & Noble Bookstore, which with the demise of Borders has become something of a mini-vacation for me. I love bookstores, even though I tend to overspend in them and never manage to walk out without at least one book. It would not surprise me to learn that Samuel T. Cogley is a future descendant of mine. I knew the book that I wanted and I knew that for my beloved Kindle it would cost me a mere $14.99.
Lo, there it was on the shelf, in glorious hardback.
And now I own it, at more than twice the cost of the Kindle version – which I will also be compelled to purchase because, after all, the reason I have a Kindle is so that I don’t have to carry around ten pound hardback books.
Which is why, I realized after a moment, that so-called “brick & mortar stores” like Best
Buy and Barnes & Noble are still in business. People like me for whom immediacy is more important than price. But I have to wonder in this economy if there are enough of us around, because even I have pretty much quit going to book stores except for the VERY rare day when I have an extra hour and a few extra dollars – not a usual situation – to browse the shelves for something interesting. Even then, I am more likely to hit the remaindered shelves than the new stuff, although for the first time in more than three years this weekend I did buy a full price, hard back, hot off the press book.
There is, of course, nothing quite like the feel, the heft, the pages of a real book, even if the information in the Kindle version is the same.
I think that one of the things that I most looked forward to in my Star Trek world was being able to carry a million books in the palm of my hand. Trust me, when I was on the submarine it would have been a great thing to be able to have Kindles and iPods and laptop computers and tablets. But now that they are here, I’m not so sure anymore.
Yeah, I love my Kindle and devices. But there really is something to the feel of a book. The bent pages to mark my place, the highlights to remind myself of something important. Of course you can do similar things on a Kindle, but it isn’t the same. Which is why – I hope – Amazon (which I love) will not drive every bookseller out of the world. Every now and then, I still like to buy a real and new book.
Just so I don’t forget.