Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Guest Post: The Joys of a Threesome

by Beck McDowell

For many years, I’ve been in a monogamous relationship—with paper. Paper books have satisfied my urges, helped me escape, taught me to love. There’ve been too many meaningful encounters to list—from one night stands to ongoing commitments that lasted for weeks. I love the smell of paper books, the heft of their spines, the feel of tender pages against my fingertips. Many are with me still—flashing their graphics from my bookshelves, reminding me of special nights spent together.

But I’m expanding my definition of a relationship. Don’t judge me; it’s a very personal choice that each of us must make. I’m going public today with the news: I’ve found happiness in a threesome. It’s a highly satisfying, infinitely entertaining, rewarding and stimulating arrangement that enriches my life immensely. That’s right. From now on, it’ll be e-books, tree books, and me.

Some of you will say I’m unfaithful. I’ll be accused of cheating on the very tomes that introduced me to my lifetime love of literature. But I have passion enough to go around. My eyes have been opened to a new world, and I’m embracing a new chapter in my life.

My first love moved me in ways I can’t describe, but please understand that e-books take me places I’ve never been before. They fly with me to faraway cities, they lie with me beside sparkling pools; they love to travel in a way that paper books never could. They come to me at any hour of the day or night. They calm me in long lines of traffic or grocery shopping. They rescue me from boring doctor’s office magazines and meager dental offerings of Highlights for Children. And in bed at night, they whisper to me in the dark, leading me to dramatic climaxes and happy endings.

My e-books invite me to taste freely of new adventures, sampling 50-page portions of journeys I might wish to take with them. They let me choose which memories I’ll want in hardback to keep and savor, and which I’ll file away on a cloud full of memories of pleasant but ultimately unfulfilling forays.

E-books welcome non-traditional relationships. They’re eager to link with videos, websites, and photos in a way that some might call promiscuous. It’s true they can’t compete with the velvet touch of a leather-bound classic when I want to curl up in a soft chair by the fire, but they do have their own special glow and, I have to tell you, it speaks to me. I’ll never leave my first love. I can’t be happy unless I’m surrounded by books I can fondle and caress, but readers who close their minds to the possibilities of a new love are missing a life-changing opportunity. My paper books, e-books and I enjoy a beautiful threesome that I recommend to book lovers everywhere. Find a cozy Nook at your iPad to Kindle a new relationship. You’ll be glad you did.

Beck McDowell demonstrates her dual devotion by publishing LAST BUS OUT in enhanced digital form AND paper. She blogs (from Huntsville, Alabama) at BeckMcDowell.com, and tweets at @BeckMcDowell.

14 comments:

  1. After years of decrying the ereader as the end of all things worthy in the universe, I, too, have entered into this threesome. It's odd at first, but then, not so much. I have beloved books. I will always have them, but ereaders offer a lot of freedom, especially with books I know I don't need on my shelves. So, this is the new reality, and I have to say, I like it. :)

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  2. I haven't yet stepped out my paperbacks. E-books feel so...like one night stands (not that I would know, really.) I mean when falling off to sleep do you just drop it on the floor or nightstand as a book - and does it crash? Do you have to turn it off? I just don't know. But! I'll keep an open mind. Enjoyed your blog. Thank you.

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  3. I got a Kindle for Christmas and I have to say-I feel the same way! I used to be hesitant when it came to eBooks, but I love the idea of the "threesome" and enjoying eBooks and print books at the same time.

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  4. I just got an e-reader for Christmas, and I'm finding myself in the same position. I love paper books and always will, but I really really like my e-reader too.

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  5. I bought an ereader back in July last year after trying out my sister's. I've used it far more than I actually expected I would, but I do still read physical books from time to time.

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  6. I couldn't have said it better myself! I think I'd be lost without either e-books or tree books.

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  7. Computer dating has its disadvantages, though. Sometimes it's difficult to tell into which slot to insert.

    Scott Nicholson
    http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

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  8. All I can say is...

    "You BRAZEN HUSSY! This is how you repay paper's faithfulness to you?
    Oh, we should have seen this coming. The years of being chewed on when you were teething. The nonchalant disregard, the open-spines-left-upon-armchairs, the way you stuffed us into your schoolbag, thrown on the bed after an afternoon's browse...

    Fine then. Abandon paper. See if we care."
    *wails hysterically and flees, hand dramatically on forebrow*


    - Pip

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  9. LOL Funny post. I think I've been in a threesome a good chunk of my life. LOL Never thought I would say that.

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  10. Oh, you had me cracking up laughing. I love my ereader and tree books too! But my ereader is seducing me slowly away.

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  11. Thanks for the comments, thanks for reading, and thank you, Eric, for sharing your wonderful blog. I've been called a tart and a hussy today - ha, but it was a fun way to draw attention to the point that the two types of books aren't mutually exclusive. I have no intention of neglecting either of my two loves, and I think most people will eventually agree that there's room in our hearts for both. ;)

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  12. When the publisher (Phoenix) of my hardcover book closed its book department in April 2010 I was crushed to learn that my book would be available only on Kindle for six months before a paperback could also be offered. The hardcover and paperback versions still do well, but I was astounded at how many readers actually have switched to Kindle. When I market now (Twitter, FB, etc.) I always mention Kindle and I do intend to get myself a Kindle reader soon. I can't believe I already don't have one. The name of my new publisher (E-Reads) says it all. My love of reading will never have me feeling my paper library is antiquated, but I will step into the future and join the "threesome" crowd, too.

    Very nice blog here! Please visit mine. If any of you download my book, I would love to hear from you. It's a controversial, high-profile story, but one that truly needed to be told. www.martirulli.blogspot.com. Thanks, Marti

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  13. Glad to hear this isn't an "either one or the other" situation! As a decorator, I'm imagining the impact on home decor. Gone are those cozy book-lined rooms. Instead, I see bare white walls and a glass coffee table on which stands a e-book emitting light, intensifying a scene of stark minimalism. Can a Kindle really exist in a book cluttered space? Lover of antiques that I am, how does it look on a Louis VI fauteuil chair? I have some ideas and will post for you on my facebook page.

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