I don’t really have much opinion on e-readers. I could see me having one if I had to travel, but otherwise, it’s not even on my wish list. However, in 2041, the year Restoring Harmony is set, things are different. Here’s an excerpt:
Two hours later there were still fourteen people in line ahead of me. I’d had a lot of time to work it out, and on average, each person spent four minutes getting their tickets. Allowing for overages, I still had an hour to go. The only book I had was my dad’s copy of The Olde Time Farmer’s Almanac. This was his idea of entertaining reading and he’d insisted that I take it along.
The last thing I wanted to do was haul a heavy book around. Not to mention valuable, at least to my dad. Buying the collector’s hardback edition, instead of an electronic one, was Dad’s big splurge every January. I’d begged Katie to let me take the E-ZBook Reader, but she wouldn’t part with it. Sometimes she could be so stingy. I opened the almanac to today’s date.
July 9th, 2041 – Oaks fall, but bending reeds brave the storm.
I smiled. I guess Dad thought that if he wasn’t around to actually give me advice, the Almanac was the next best thing. I flipped through the pages, reading about when to plant spinach and how to attract bees. It was all stuff I already knew by heart though.
In Molly’s world, newspapers have actually made a comeback because the internet is very unreliable. However, printing and shipping books is practically impossible without electricity to run the presses and oil for transportation, so the e-reader is the thing of choice. At least, it is if you can afford one, and if you can get an internet connection long enough to download the book you want.
The circumstances of Molly’s world make real books something you splurge on. They are big purchases, not just something you grab in line at the grocery store. Do I think this will happen? I’m not sure. Books have been around a long time. However, there was a time when only the rich had them, when they were a luxury. Perhaps we’re looking at that kind of thing again. In which case, I will embrace the few books I do own, and will gladly have an e-reader, just so I can keep reading debut authors!