Six months ago, I opened the Sunday edition of my New York Times and wondered how and why the “young folk” have jumped into this funky new world of online news. Sitting with my coffee and my paper, I shook my head thinking, “what a fad.”
Then, Patch came calling, asking me to write an opinion column about life in Evanston. No one (including me) had really heard of Patch at that point. When I realized Patch was an online news source, I shook my head again, wondering how a paper-loving, newspaper reader like me would ever mesh with the online scene.
As I’ve written posts about life in Evanston (this being post number 200), I’ve come to embrace the immediacy of technology. I like how breaking news in my town can reach me in a matter of moments: stories like , and , and . I still receive (and read) all of my “paper” subscriptions, like the Evanston Review and The Round Table and The Chicago Tribune – I can’t let go of them -- but I’m crossing into the online world, something I know I’ll explain to my grandchildren with theatrical detail:
“Kids, I remember, long before you were born, there was a time when a newspaper person actually tossed a pile of paper on my doorstep with the news!”
“A WHAT?” they’ll screech.
“A person who delivered the news to my house.”
“BY HAND?” they’ll laugh, shaking their heads. “On real paper?”
Even as I type this hypothetical conversation with the grandchildren I’m (hopefully) far from having, I can see how rapidly things change. It’s stunning to live in such a mercurial time, witnessing the transition from the “printed” to “electronic” word.
Books are even read in such a vast array of forms, but the e-book market is exploding. E-readers like the Kindle, the Nook and Kobo seem to proliferate society. With the recent closing of Borders, Evanston readers can’t help but see how e-readers are changing the face of traditional publishing.
Back to my six-months-ago-self. I used to think, “Why should I buy another gadget? A book is a book.” Now, I see some concrete benefits to e-readers, for example:
--Non-readers might pick up an e-reader and actually enjoy reading a book.
--“Underperforming” students might read with less self-consciousness because they’re not reading an obvious “lower-level” book in front of their peers.
--High school and college students might carry less weight in their backpacks by downloading textbooks onto e-readers.
I still haven't bought an e-reader. No one in my house has one...yet. Do you?