Two nights ago we provided books for the launch party of Eileen Rockefeller’s lovely and thought-provoking memoir, Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself. The event was held at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms, possibly one of the most gorgeous places in Vermont. There was a festive air to the evening because Eileen lives in town and people were celebrating her book. We were thrilled to be providing her books for the party.
We had stacks of books set up and people were buying, often more than one copy. Folks who weren’t buying felt compelled to explain why. More often than not, they’d already purchased their copy from us earlier. A few sheepishly explained that they’d read the book as a galley. But we heard from at least 10 people that they’d already downloaded the book on their Kindle. Interestingly, no one mentioned any other kind of e-reader, just the Kindle. In the beginning of the evening, before Eileen’s lively, informative, and heartfelt presentation, the Kindle owners just avoided the sales table.
Then an incredible thing happened. People were so moved by Eileen’s presentation, they wanted a book, a real book that could be signed and personalized. They came back up to the sales table and bought heaps of books. All of them saying, “Well, it’s not like she can sign my Kindle.”
It was gratifying to finally be on the winning end of an e-reader argument. Yes, they’re convenient, yes, they hold a lot, but in the end, they’re missing the whimsy of a real book and the value of a book in terms of creating a memory. And I left thinking, the physical book wins again. That was a very happy thought.