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To “e” or not to “e”

That is the question 

Funny how we use different ways to mark our age these days, isn't it? It used to be that graying hair and crows' feet were sure indications of a woman in her mid- to late 50s. Thanks to Clairol and miracle face creams, we can no longer depend on those telltale signs.

Carole Townsend

Alas, there are other sure-fire clues to a person’s age. In my case, the reluctance to use or even entertain the use of technological gadgets gives my age away every time.

I’m a writer. That used to mean using lots of ink pens and truckloads of writing pads. It used to mean that White-Out was my best friend. These days, I use a Mac. I have a printer, of course. I understand just enough about both to write a story or an entire book and ship it off to my editor. Oh my Mac will do all kinds of things – wondrous, fancy things that (according to hubby) will revolutionize my life, make it so much easier. But I stick to my guns because, you see, I am a fifty-something writer. I like pens. I like paper. And I like the U.S. mail, even though in our case, it’s a 50-50 shot as to whether it gets delivered to the proper address.

So here’s my quandary: e-books and e-readers. People either love them or they hate them. I dislike them, and I’ve never even used one. I’ll tell you why. First, they’re new. I know they’ve been around for years, but to me, they’re still new. And new – change – makes me uncomfortable. That’s not an easy thing to admit, but it’s one of my shortcomings that I’ve come to own. Second, I think the ability to own and carry around thousands of books with us is adeterrent to starting and finishing every one. It’s too easy to get bored with one and skip to another. Our attention spans are short enough as it is.

Third (and this one is a biggie), I just love a BOOK. I love paper. I love the way a new book smells, the way the spine crackles a bit the first time it’s opened, whispering to the reader, “Come on in; let’s go on an adventure.” I love the way a well-loved book smells, like a favorite sweater or the cologne my husband wore the first time we met.

When I was a kid, I spent a good deal of my life between the pages of a book. Books were my escape, my solace, my best friend. I can remember the excitement of starting one, and I can remember that twinge of sadness I felt upon reading the last word on the last page of one. My favorite books, some saved from my days as a young girl, stand sentinel on row after row of shelves in my office, ready and waiting for me to carefully select one and curl up with it, for the second time or perhaps for the fifth or sixth.

I think I have resisted buying or even accepting an e-reader for these very reasons. Can I feel and smell and remember all these things,holding a cold, hard tablet with a backlit screen? I don’t know. Maybe. But I don’t think I want to take the chance that I won’t.

My children laugh and roll their eyes at me when I saythings like this to them. Even my husband finds it hard to understand my thinking when it comes to e-readers and such. To him, the latest, greatest technology is exciting, and he really has figured out ways to use it to make his job – his entire life – easier. I, on the other hand, tend to get flustered and agitated when things beep, buzz, vibrate and ring at me. I usually turn off all the sounds and alarms, so what’s the point, anyway?

Technology, especially e-readers? Not me. I’ll stick to my paper calendar, sticky notes and my real books, thank you very much. I may color my hair and use moisturizing cream on my face, but I’ve not been won over to the e-books just yet.

On the other hand, however, I extend a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” to those who buy my books in e-format. That’s one technology I took to right away. I hope those books bring you all the pleasure and comfort that my bound books do for me.

You see? I’m not completely set in my ways.

Carole Townsend is a Gwinnett author and freelance writer. Her fourth book, BLOOD IN THE SOIL, was named Finalist for 2017 Georgia Author of the Year in the Detective/Mystery genre. Her previous three books are written with loving humor about the South. Carole often appears on network television talk and news shows, as well as on national radio shows. Her books can be found in bookstores, on, Barnes &, and at When she’s not writing, Carole travels throughout the southeast, talking to groups about women, writing, family, and life in her beloved South. Follow Carole on Facebook (Carole Townsend-Author), Twitter @caroletownsend, or Instagram @carole.w.riter.