I recently took a trip to Brazil. It was meant to be a work-cation– sightseeing, beaches, but also writing time. It also involved about twelves hours on a an airplane. I llike to think of myself as a with-it person, so I decided that I would read e-books while I was away. Afterall, I am a superfast reader and I wouldn’t want to be carrying two weeks worth of books. No, not hip super-techie me! iPad baby. Nook app.
I ordered the books from but forgot to actually send them to my device. No worries, I thought. I’ll just zip them from the cloud when I get on the place. Didn’t the promo material say the jet was WiFi enabled? Well, there was no WiFi on board, but that was okay. I entertained myself with the movies offered by my friends at American Airlines. (Young Adult wasn’t bad.) When I got to the villa in Brazil, there was no WiFi there, either. (Moral of this story– don’t believe anything you read in promo materials.) So there was was, stranded for two weeks with nothing to read. Keep in mind that this was a communal living situation– think The Real World. And everyone that was ever a nerdy child knows that a good book can give you privacy in your head, even when you have no privacy in real life. And I had NOTHING. Before you can suggest it— there was no sense looking for a bookstore since everything would be in Portugeuse.
Yes, I know that this falls under #firstworldproblems, but it was a little bit of a wake up call to me. The ebook requires a certain amount of infrastructure and privilege. Not everybody in America– let alone the rest of the world– is plugged in 24-7. And let’s say that I been able to download my ebooks, I wouldh’t have been able to share them with my new friends in Brazil.
The ride back was a nightmare. For one, No movies because I lost my upgrade. (That’s a long story which I will only tell over cocktails.) And second, I had nothing to read, having exhausted the SkyMiles catalog on the outbound trip. All around me people were flipping through paper books with what looked to me like joy. Glee, even. On my lap, my iPad mocked. I know this sounds dramatic, but I was in flight twelve hours! There is only so much solitaire and Texas Hold ‘Em a person can take.
Next time, it’s real books all the way.