Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kindle Me Green

Last week, my husband told me that he'd like the Kindle for Christmas. He'd seen it on Oprah and was sold. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure what the Kindle was, what it did or why he was watching Oprah.

I did some research. Why I didn't already know about this electronic reading device baffled me. It's an answer to my green prayers! To be able to read my favorite books without needing a physical copy. Imagine…no more back room piled to the ceiling with books (you think I'm joking). No more paper, all those trees saved! And light enough to carry everywhere.

Now I wanted one and was determined not to buy any more books. Of course, there's always the "but."

Jessica Lange was at Barnes and Noble last week discussing and signing her new book, 50 Photographs. I absolutely adore her and wanted her book. I mean, what do you do when you absolutely have to have the physical copy? And the thing is, I love new books. The feel of the cover, the texture of the pages, the smell. Hers was no exception.

This was a coffee table book. A huge one. "Meant to be displayed," I told myself. Could I go back on my new pledge...just this once? After all, I didn't have the Kindle yet. Of course, I don't have a coffee table, either.

Hoping to make peace with myself, I carried my oversized book to the cashier. He greeted me with a nonjudgmental hello and proceeded to ring up my purchase.

Then he asked me if I was a Barnes and Noble member. "No," I replied.

"It's only $25 to join and you'll save 20% on this book!" he exclaimed.

Now, why should I pay for discounts? Does this make any sense? I tried using logic.

"I'm a Borders member," I said, "and they don't charge." I realized I had gone too far.

"Borders discounts aren't as good!"

"Stop Meredith! Stop right there," I shouted to myself. But did I listen? Nooooo….

"Borders has way better discounts!" This guy was getting more than a little heated. We began to argue in an unpleasant "No they don't!/Yes, they do!" exchange.

"Well, you can't apply for a job in person at Borders. You have to apply online."

So Borders has a green application process, nice! "They're saving paper," I said.

"That's just so they can ignore your application," he said. "And they didn't hire me!"

I was about to say, "I wonder why..."

Then, with a snippy tone and a thrust of his wrist, he pushed the book at me, turned to his co-workers and rolled his eyes. Was the universe telling me I shouldn't be buying any more books? Or just that I shouldn't be buying any from him?

Completely frazzled, I went upstairs to see Jessica. My evening got better as soon as I sat down to look at my new book full of her black and white photographs taken all over the world. I left feeling inspired.

I realized that the Kindle won't capture the magic of large photographs or autographs, but it will keep my reading free from unwanted paper, and also free from unwanted encounters with psychotic check-out clerks. At least until Jessica Lange publishes her next book.

If only I had only had the Kindle six months ago when I was buying the Twilight books for myself, friends and family members . . . I could have saved more trees than 94,000 Borders applications.

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