I just got the word that my book Table for Two – The Cookbook for Couples will be released for Kindle and other similar electronic reading devices.
When I asked why, they told me that by not doing so we would leave money on the table. Naturally, I hate to leave money on the table -- unless, of course, the wait service was exceptional.
Besides, they were starting to get requests for Table for Two in e-book format -- like one they just got from a small town in West Africa.
So I think it is a good thing.
But I don’t own one. Yet.
At first it was because I am always a slow adapter to new technologies. I believe I was one of the last documented holdouts for vinyl as opposed to CD’s back in the 80s. And I’m still not sure what to make of Blu-ray. (It’s a type of sunglass lens, right?)
However, my very first laptop and desktop computers were Macs, so I’m at least good for something.
But it just was not my inner Luddite raising his head again. I, like many others, enjoy the tactile feel of a book in my hands. But that is changing. I used to have my local paper delivered until we moved a few years ago. I never got around to re-subscribing and began to get most of my news off the internet. I never thought that would ever happen, but it did.
So I see myself getting a Kindle or Nook someday. But not just yet. And it has little to do with my technological lag time or my love of all things tactile. The main reason? These items are not waterproof.
Or to be more specific: margarita proof.
Here’s how I know.
Two years ago I was at Book Expo America. It is "the" publishing event in the country. Held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, it features several floors and miles of aisles of all things publishing. For just $250 I can have the privilege of chatting with publishers and authors from all over the world. It also allows me the privilege of buying $6 beers and $10 sandwiches. And this year I could have the privilege to join several hundred other attendees at breakfasts hosted by Julianne Moore, Jim Lehrer, Diane Keaton and Roger Ebert. Heck, even if it was only Julianne Moore, that’d be worth at least 100 bucks right there. If she'd let me butter her toast it'd be worth $200. At least.
But I digress. Two years ago I was wandering through this roiling sea of publishers and vendors when I stumbled into what appeared to be a tropical island. It seems one vendor shipped in a couple of tons of sand, a small forest of palm trees, and a bevy of statuesque blondes in micro-bikinis to showcase their new e-reader: The Cooler.
As one who has always harbored a fondness for the beach, I soon found myself wandering over to check it out. One of the women, her name tag read Ivana (though I am not sure to this day how that name tag was attached due to a lack of actual material to affix it to) led me over to a bamboo cart that held a chrome and glass margarita machine the size of a small nuclear power plant, as well as stacks and stacks of their Coolers. She handed me a glass and told me to help myself as she expounded the virtues of the new e-reader.
I placed the glass beneath the spigot and, not wanting to appear rude, gave Ivana my full attention (how the heck was that name tag attached?) and proceeded to fill up my glass.
In my desire to be attentive and polite, I did not get my glass completely under the spigot. In fact, I wasn’t even close. Instead, quarts and quarts of ice-cold margaritas poured past my glass and began to soak the Coolers that were on display.
If I hadn’t felt my socks getting wet, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. I looked down and with a loud “crap” or similar word I released the spigot and stared at the lime-infused e-readers which only moments ago featured the works of great literature on their screens but now only flickered and buzzed.
Ivana could only hold her hand to her mouth and utter, “Youski ar oneski bigski dumbasski!” Which I took to be Russian for, “Here, let me clean that up.”
I smiled a sheepish smile and filled my glass. Then I backed away and disappeared into the crowd while some men in suits stumbled into the tropical tableau from somewhere behind the curtain yelling and screaming about something that must’ve happened a few moments earlier.
As I wandered down to the more boring McGraw-Hill booth, which employed women dressed as flight attendants and served tea, I sipped my frosty concoction and vowed that I would never invest in an e-reader until they had perfected it.
Yes, it must be margarita-proof.