Monday, December 30, 2013


We gave Dad a Nook for Christmas.
My parents are snowbirds who spend a few months in Florida. While Mom reads books on occasion, Dad reads books frequently, both audio and the old fashion way. He’s big on history, particularly WWII and the Old West. He also dabbles in fiction, especially books written by Bill O’Reilly and some grumpy old sprite called Hannity. (Sorry, Keith!) We figured if we give Dad a Nook, then he’ll read books about wars and books written by those who always push for wars (Keith slam #2!) anywhere he goes –even if it’s to the beach. You know, like you see in the commercial where a woman is sitting on her beach towel, in full sun, and yet she is comfortably reading an eBook on her Nook or Kindle… Except, that wouldn’t be my dad. He might take his Nook to the beach, but you can be sure he’d be slathered in SPF 1000, sitting on his corroding beach chair under a thick umbrella, and reading from the Nook he’s trapped inside a zip-lock bag. Sand.
So after Christmas, I set up Dad’s sleek Nook. Wow! Dad has just received a powerful tool that will divine established authors and send celestial us soon-to-be authors. Not only are our books available for purchase on such devices, but they can be bought anywhere, even at the edge of the world! P-O-W-E-R-F-U-L. Nook is good for us authors, and we are good for Nook.  Of course, the first thing Nook wanted me to do was to create Dad’s account with Barnes and Noble. Nook then asked me to add a credit card for future purchases. Dad said NO to that, so I moved on. Nook wanted to know Dad’s taste in books and gave suggestions based on genre. Cool! There were a dozen categories to choose from, but Dad told me to select ‘History’ and ‘Sci-Tech’ – he said he was only interested in non-fiction (yeah, right! snicker... See: Keith slams 1&2).  I selected History and Sci-Tech. Nook then moved on to describe sample books and magazines based on Dad’s genres that it had in its cache. Naw. Dad said he’s not interested.

You can clear them from the Nook if you want; I’ll never look at them.

It’s around this time when we discover the Netflix app is ‘missing’. Recently, the Nook has been advertised as more a tablet than a book reader. Dad has his Netflix and loves it, so I set that up for him, too. We do a test run on the Nook Netflix App. Works perfectly. So, Dad, I urge; let’s look through the Barnes and Noble virtual bookshelves and download you some books.

Are any of them free?

Well, some of them are, I respond. But you have to purchase most. That’s how authors and Barnes and Noble make money, you know? The books don't cost much, though. Most are around $3-$5. Only the new ones cost more.

I don’t buy many books anymore. I get them through the library. Can you connect to the library from that thing? I get my audiobooks from there, too. In fact, don’t waste your money buying me audio books anymore.

I spent the next 35 minutes looking for his library, finding their suggested app for Nook linked to the B&N website, and then… I couldn’t download the app. Although free, Barnes and Noble wouldn’t let me download the library app with a membership that does not have…yep…a  credit card attached to the account. I worked to get around it. Nope.
My little brother took over. Within two minutes, he found the library app through Google – no credit cards need apply. We do a test run on the Nook Library App. Works perfectly. So perfectly, Dad downloaded one audio book and two eBooks within the span of six minutes. Two free history books on World War 2; one free audio book on World War 2. And Netflix. He looked at Netflix again. Dad loves his Nook.

Yesterday, I called them while they were on their way to the edge of the world. I told them that if they wanted to purchase an eBook, then let me know; I’ll buy it for them. Just go to the B&N website and--

No-can-do-Son. It’s not ever gonna happen.

Okay, I reply. But Mom may want the new Carol Burnett autobiog—. I stop. It’s not ever gonna happen.
The tide is low, and Jetty Park Beach in Cape Canaveral is wide and exposed as three species of bird with their own unique black and white feather assemble fly, shout, and dance through the park’s waves and wind current. Dad sits under the low umbrella tightly secured inside one of those PVC-tube-thing that screws deep into the wet beach. Dad’s toes are buried in the sand and his attention is buried in the worn, plastic fog of his zip-locked Nook. Sand. He’s reading an eBook loaned out from the Tippecanoe County library, or he’s watching one of the dozen Shane remakes from Netflix. He’s happy. Mom’s happy. He’s happy Mom’s happy.
Thank goodness libraries pay the five hundred thousand dollar fee to each author for every 2.135 books loaned out, right? And thank goodness all our stories can be made into Westerns. The royalty checks from Netflix save the day. I mean, without the residual money we make off our books, we authors would have to wait until those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups shaped like Christmas trees go 75% off before we’d consider getting them. Thank goodness…we don’t have to do that.


1 comment:

  1. Yeah, but sand and a wee bit of salt spray can lend a real book some nifty character. And it doesn't require your credit card number! Meanwhile, back to reading a book on my Kindle about using Scrivener on my Mac. Sheesh!

    Now, where did I put my ink pot?