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The new green era

It’s the end of an era at our house. This morning I went out for my walk, and didn’t return with a newspaper in my hand. Instead, I came inside, got the Nook, and ordered a subscription. Within seconds, the content of the newspaper, though not the newspaper itself, was in my hand.

This is a huge deal for us. My husband and I are avid consumers of news media of various sorts. We get piles of magazines for ourselves and our kids, and we always got a morning newspaper. But we’ve been talking about living a less wasteful lifestyle, and when I paid our newspaper subscription recently, the price of it shocked me. We’ll pay for the Nook in a few months, even if we subscribe to two newspapers. Of course, we’ll have to buy another Nook at some point because one of us will start to hog it. Already, my husband downloaded a couple of books onto it for our trip, so he got it on the plane to do his reading.

I don’t think that the Nook is a good replacement for paper, really. You can’t clip things. You can’t leave a page out on the counter to remind you to look something up later. You can’t see the whole story at once. It takes longer for the Nook to turn a page than it does for me to turn a page. Sometimes the Nook turns two pages when I wouldn’t have done so with paper. One time I ended up in a whole different place on the device without knowing what I’d done. And as both kids pointed out, it doesn’t have the Sunday comics.

But otherwise it’s a good little gizmo. It’s a bit dangerous for those with a shopping problem — you don’t even have to type your credit card number. But for those of us who want instant gratification, it’s great. Going to Seattle tomorrow and want to find out what’s happening? Order the Seattle newspaper, right then and there. Remember a book that you’ve been wanting to read? Get it on your Nook immediately, before you forget.

And it is definitely more “green” than getting a newspaper delivered by car every day to our house. It takes very little battery because of its cool digital ink technology, and there’s no other waste.

I suspect, though, that there will be one unintended consequence of these devices if they get more popular. Those of us with kids need newspaper all the time for messy projects. I’m guessing that the next time I pick up a free weekly, I may pick up two. Already, we’re low on newspaper, and big on messy plans.

Posted in Parenting.

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