|Ion Quick Play Flash|
I have made it clear, I think, over the last couple of years that I am not at all happy with the negative impact that the emergence of e-books is having on traditional publishing, bookstores, and people like me. People like me collect books and it's damn hard to display a collection of e-books in a home. I collect books, not bytes. So, finding a couple of new old-books to bring home this afternoon was nice.
I tend to latch on to favorite authors for a lifetime - theirs and mine. And because I inherited a heavy dose of the "collector gene," I like to own a nice copy (or two) of all the books written by my favorites. That can get expensive fast, but it allows me to spend countless hours browsing my bookshelves, thumbing through the books and recalling what made me fall in love with them in the first place. Hey, I admit it, this man's cave is a nerd cave.
Ruth Rendell and Anne Tyler are two of the writers whose work I enjoy most. Each has provided me with decades of good reading experiences, but my collection of their books remains far from complete. I aim for hardcover copies, preferably first editions, but I am always as happy to substitute Advance Reading Copies or Uncorrected Proofs for the hardcover firsts. And, for just over ten bucks, today I was able to add a first edition book by each of the ladies, both of which, coincidentally, were published in 2009 - Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass and Ruth Rendell's The Monster in the Box (an American first).
But the icing on today's cake is the great turntable I found in the B&N music department. This little gadget, an "Ion Quick Play Flash," along with its associated software, converts old vinyl albums into digital files and loads them directly into iTunes where they can be downloaded to an iPod or played on a computer or mac. The turntable itself is lightweight and does not give me the impression that it will last very long, but the price is low enough that I'm hoping to get my money's worth out of it before it crashes. It has a flimsy feel - but the three LPs I've converted this afternoon all sound great in my headphones.
Over the last few years, I have converted about 200 LPs to digital format but, because I used a regular turntable/amplifier set-up to do the job, it finally became too much of a chore. Using a turntable designed specifically to interface with a computer/mac makes the job so much simpler - and quicker - that I'm hoping finally to get through the last 150-200 LPs still awaiting my attention.
I find the project to be a very rewarding one, a bit like digging up buried treasure that has been hidden away for decades. Most of these songs are long out of print and were never converted to CDs, so this is the only way that I will ever hear them again - or hear them for the first time. They can only remain alive as long as someone remembers - and enjoys - them, and I'm happy to help them out.