Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Problem of Going Digital (eBooks)

48º ~ bright sun, crisp breezes, all is well with the weather world as the year closes

Today, I have hit upon the one, true problem that I have with going digital, by which I mean switching to eBooks and internet journals.

The problem is this: there is no towering, life-endangering, stack of things to be read. At this moment, three stacks of books, mostly poetry hover over and around me. Add to that a stack of articles ripped from magazines, as well as articles and poems printed from the web, a slippery, slide-y kind of stack that makes a mess of my desk. While these stacks can sometimes inspire guilt and self-admonishment, they are always within reach, and I cannot "forget" that there is something I want to read.

Recently, though, I've been trying to cut down on paper and ink consumption by not printing as many things off the internet to read and by buying more eBooks or eSubscriptions to journals. My big exploration into reading poetry books as eBooks has been with Lucie Brock-Broido's latest, Stay, Illusion. I have access to it, and all the rest on both my iPad and my laptop; however, both iPad and laptop are slim, trim, and easily lost amid the clutter of life. Also, they don't scream "Read Me. Read Me Right Now" like a print version of almost anything else does.

Sidebar: C. and I recently visited a friend in the hospital. Said friend is slightly younger than we are, and when we arrived, he had a few other visitors of the younger variety. When I asked if our friend needed any magazines or anything, another visitor burst out laughing. He reminded me that with a smartphone, which our hospitalized friend had, there was no longer any need for magazines. I laughed along but a little part of me was so sad.

As for my desk and my "to-read pile," I don't know how this will all turn out. I suppose I will adapt to the changes, as humans are wont to do (or not, if we are the curmudgeonly kind). For the time being, I will search for some kind of visual indicator to remind myself of the eVersions waiting for me. Perhaps, I should print out color copies of the covers and tape them to my devices? Any other creative ideas?

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