Are books becoming the new 8-track?

Today, I was flipping through a Real Simple magazine and saw a full-page ad for Kindle, a wireless device available from Amazon that allows you to download books, magazines and newspapers. It's sort of like an iPod for your reading material. I get it. The Kindle seems really cool. I understand why some people would love it. And I'm not saying that I would never, ever, ever buy one for myself...

But...

Am I the only one out there to who prefers to hold a book in her hands? I want to feel the pages between my fingers. I dog-ear, underline, flip ahead and flip back. I can see where I am in the story, where I've been and how far I have left to go. I'm obviously aware that blogging allows me to publish my writing in an instant (so awesome) but many times, I start with pen and paper... I have to step away from the keyboard and computer screen to get in the creative flow and allow the muse to take shape.

I am not anti-technology. I'm a big fan of finding new ways to save time, energy and space. But the Kindle makes me wonder what's to come. I remember feeling a hint of sadness when Millennium Music in downtown Charleston closed. They're now doing business as an online store. No more standing in the aisles wearing a set of huge headphones, listening to CD's and contemplating the purchase of the acoustic version of Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill. So sad.

Are bookstores the next to go? I understand times change. I no longer sit on the floor of the neighborhood Book Bag browsing through Judy Blume books. Instead, I sip on a latte and cozy up in a comfy chair at Barnes & Noble.

I buy books online, too. And if I had a Kindle, I could download my purchase in about a minute. But, really, I don't mind waiting a couple days for the hard copies to arrive. When I hear the delivery truck, I rush to the door. I tear open the cardboard packaging like it's Christmas morning.

I'll never forget the day I stood in line holding a stack of books written by Sue Monk Kidd, happily waiting for her to scrawl her signature across the front pages. I wonder what she would do if someone said, "Hey Sue, would you sign my Kindle?" I imagine she'd ask if anyone had a Sharpie. But it's not the same.

I commented to my husband, "What's next? Wall art and famous paintings rotating on giant plasma TVs?"  He told me Bill Gates has something like that.

Am I a member of a dying breed? Am I becoming one of those people who will say, "Back in my day we had BOOKS! You young people don't know what you're missing!"

Speak to me, friends.

Oh, one more thing-- coming up this Tuesday (Wednesday if you get updates via email)-- my conversation with author Katherine Center. You'll love her insights on finding the beauty in life's imperfections. Stay tuned!