Barnes and Noble made an alarming announcement on Tuesday: They’re closing all versions of their online Nook bookstore in the UK, according to the BBC. This news comes on the heels of a February report that e-book sales have fallen for all five of the UK’s largest publishers.
On the one hand, I can’t help but feel a little vindicated. When the doomsayers mourned the Death of the Paper Book, I was skeptical. Tablets and e-readers appeal for very specific reasons, two being travel and vision limitations. But those of us who love books and reading don’t just love words lined up in order on any flat surface. We love the whole experience of a book, from what it looks like to how it feels in our hands.
On the other hand, I’m sad. I want both paper and e-book. I’m worried it’s a sign of things to come in the US. In the four years I’ve been reading on a Nook GlowLight (and now GlowLight Plus), I’ve grown deeply attached to this little device. It’s almost hyperbolic, really.
The first thing I do before leaving my house is check to make sure I have my Nook. I’ve forgotten my wallet. I’ve arrived at my car door only to realize I forgot my keys, leading to a three to seven minute search, during which time I’ll fume, “Why can’t I go one [expletive deleted] day without losing my [expletive deleted] keys.” Meanwhile, my Nook will be safely tucked into my bag or, in winter, my enormous coat pocket.
Before I’ll even consider a handbag, it must first prove itself commodious enough to store my Nook. Since the device is really quite small, this isn’t much of a challenge. Even the little bag I use to hold my keys and wallet on long walks to the beach fits my Nook. You may ask, What do you need your Nook for on a walk to the beach? I’ve actually thought about this! Let’s say I tripped, fell, and broke a bone. I’d have to call an ambulance, wouldn’t I? And then I’d have to wait for the ambulance. One must always be prepared with reading material!
Also? I cannot fall asleep if my Nook isn’t on my bedside table. This even when my current read is a paper book that is on my bedside table. I’ll go to turn off the light, see that my Nook isn’t there, and pad downstairs to retrieve it from wherever I left it during the day. Then I’ll pat it reassuringly before slipping into book-inspired dreams.
I love my Nook like I never loved the Kindle I received as a gift when they first came out. I don’t mean this as a knock on the Kindle. To each his or her own, you know. For me, though, my Nook GlowLight Plus is special (and waterproof!).
I love the ivory casing because it feels less like any other electronic device and more like some sort of magical paper that creates new words just as I turn the page. It is, of course, heavier than a single piece of paper. Weight-wise, it feels a lot like a 300-page hardcover, my favorite kind of book.
I love that I don’t have to tear my rotator cuff carrying 25 books in my suitcase when I travel and that it’s easy to read on an airplane, even when they turn the cabin lights off.
I love that I can read any book, anywhere, even when the font looks like it was scribbled by teeny tiny baby mice because I can make the font as large as I need it to be. This is a game changer for me because my vision isn’t one hundred percent correctible.
It’s nothing near the end of the world, obviously, and certainly qualifies as a first world problem. Even if the US bookstore closed tomorrow, I have plenty of reading material on my Nook to last, well, let’s just say quite a while. And who knows, really, what other options will exist in a few years time…
Oh, but I do love my Nook, though!