I woke up next to a Kindle, an Android tablet and an iPhone this morning. And no, my husband had not made the crossover from tech nut to robot; our home had not been invaded by electronic aliens; the spicy food from last night had not given me nightmares.
I looked over at the devices and realized they were all mine—I’ve come to depend so heavily on these things they are with me when I close my eyes.
In my defense, I asked my husband to buy me my first tablet when I started writing six
years ago because I figured the brave new world of publishing was starting to depend more heavily on this method of reading. I was right. According to stats from the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales as a percentage of publishing grew from half a percentage point in 2006 to over 8% by 2011 and went to a whopping 17% the next year. Depending on whose figures you believe, e-reading now constitutes about a quarter of the market, and while growth has slowed on selling e-reading devices, many sources way that’s because we now already own the technology.
However, having one doesn’t necessarily constitute using it, as witnessed by many nifty gadgets I’ve purchased for our household or my techno-geek husband over the years (how about that car-starting system that was supposed to save him from getting into a cold car. Where is it now? Collecting dust in the electronic graveyard he keeps in his office.)
My Kindle and its predecessors (I have a nasty habit of unintentionally killing them off) didn’t suffer that fate from Day One mainly for one reason: I can read anywhere, anytime without using glasses—including reading to make myself drowsy.
So you see, I can perfectly justify waking up next to a tablet that put me to sleep the previous evening. However, that doesn’t account for the second tablet OR the phone.
OK … well I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about the phone being there either. I’ve started taking my cell to bed with me since mom’s last hospital visit. It’s a scary world when you’re mom’s 88 and a trip to the bathroom can cause a fall that morphs into an EMS ride. She has one of those buttons to call emergency responders directly, but I feel better also knowing she can call. Of course, I also now have the capability of texting my 20-year-old daughter “goodnight” (i.e. checking up on her to make sure she’s still alive) when I know she’s out with friends past mommy’s bed time. But we won’t dwell on that.
So I’m down to that third device: the second tablet. I got it as a freebie from Verizon during a phone upgade, and it’s really come in handy at book events. For whatever grand reason Amazon might have, you can’t take Square electronic payments through a Kindle Fire, though you can do just about everything else. But how did this tablet find its way to my bedroom? Time for true confessions: with two tablets comes two functionalities. How am I supposed to know when I go to bed at night whether I want to read a book … or play a computer game? Now I can do both!—Genilee Swope Parente