As someone whose longest romantic relationship has been with the sound of his own voice, I’m no stranger to making myself heard. Sometimes in public, with a microphone! For over a year I served as the VOICE of Columbia Swimming & Diving, announcing meets with what many called a “mixture of fun and ineptitude.” In 2009 I MCed the Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2004 5-year reunion, telling my classmates that unfortunately ticket prices had gone up and the cheesesteak table would be shutting down in five minutes. Critics raved.
Most recently I’ve been manning the Nook announcements at my Barnes & Noble, where some combination of chutzpah and managerial oversight has allowed me to hop on the mic and straight rap about our line of eReaders. It goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyway, because narcissism, remember? — that I have been taking this job very seriously.
1) Do you like books? Of course you do, you’re in Barnes & Noble! Do you love being at the vanguard of book-reading technology? …Maybe not, but you will after stopping by the 1st floor NOOK desk and checking out the newest member of our e-reader family, the NOOK Simple Touch! Month-long battery life, thousand-book memory — this is the sleek, sexy reading machine you’ve been dreaming about. Come take it for a spin!
2) Books can be heavy. Books can be expensive. Why not ditch the weight and the cost with one of our three NOOK readers, each lighter than that stack of Patterson hardcovers you’re buying and with eBooks available at half the cost! It’s the future of publishing…now. Stop by the 1st floor NOOK desk for a time travel demonstration.
I may have ignored a steady stream of customers to pen those, but I think they understood the significance of my inattention. Great work requires sacrifice, and so much the better when it isn’t your own!
3) The NOOK Color is now far more than a simple reader, but a robust, ready-for-primetime media machine. Magazines. Games. Web. Email. Music and movies, too! If you are just using this bad boy for books, you’re only tapping into about 15% of its potential. For a hands-on look at this sweet tablet — which, by the way, costs about half as much as the iPad — stop by the 1st floor NOOK desk. You will not be disappointed!
4) Maybe you watched a relative open it at a birthday celebration, or received an unsolicited demonstration at a swank dinner party. However it happened, we all remember our first eReader moment. And the unbridled yearning to follow. Yearn no more at the 1st floor NOOK desk, where you can fiddle to your heart’s content with all of our great e-readers and understand firsthand why none of your friends will shut up about eInk. Test Drive City, Population: You.
It was around this point that I started to wonder: had I run out of things to say? Was the well completely drained of eReading turns of phrase? I fell despondent, going so far as to spend the next few days reading ‘The Hunger Games’ instead of coming up with new material. But like Katniss after she’s delivered a gift of medical supplies from the citizens of District 8, I soon found my second wind.
4) NOOK. Say it out loud: “nook.” What does that rhyme with? “Book,” for starters. Books until the end of time, in every conceivable genre and category. Then “look,” because, look at it — it’s awesome! Also the looks you’ll be getting from envious friends. Soak ’em in! “Hook,” as in “you’ll be hooked” the minute you pick the device up. “Crook” because at affordable prices you’ll consider your eBook purchases a steal. “Shook,” “brook,” and “Tilamook” are all words you’re likely to find on your reading journey. But finally, and perhaps most importantly, “took” — the past tense of “take,” as in “…your breath away.” We promise it will.
6) “What’s the deal with this NOOK contraption?” No, that’s not Jerry Seinfeld speaking — it’s every fiber of your being telling you to head on over to our NOOK desk and try out our sleek line of e-readers. Read some pages! Doodle some Jumps! Mess around! A few minutes on our new Simple Touch and we think you’ll agree: should paper books ever die, this isn’t a half-bad alternative.
7) eInk! Touchscreen! Expandable memory! Neoprene sleeve! If you’re unfamiliar with any of these terms, the 1st floor NOOK desk is standing by with colorful definitions and handy demonstrations to fill in the gaps. Stop on by! If you’re at all disappointed in our presentation, 3 hours free parking are on us.
I was on top of the Barnes & Noble Westside Pavilion Nook announcements world, confident that I would never again fall silent. Endless inspiration! Endless editorial!
Of course you eventually do run out of things to say. So you start reaching. And things get weird quickly.
8) We were skeptical at first too, you know. What’s this book-shaped computer, this impostor, doing trying to replace our hardcovers? Synthesize the tactile experience of beaching it with a paperback? Go home e-reader — you’re not wanted here! But then we started actually messing around with the NOOK and discovered…it’s maybe not the end of all things good, and cultured. In fact, they’re pretty remarkable reading machines. Want to try them out for yourself? Stop by the 1st floor NOOK desk, where seeing is believing.
The managers at B&N are too kind to ever pull the phone from your hand, but the “maybe you should stop doing this?” looks give it away: it’s time to find a new outlet. I don’t write today to mourn the death of my Nook jockeying or try to place it in the larger cultural canon (we all know where it fits), but merely to say “one time I did this one thing, and while there’s no proof that it accomplished its intended goal, we had some chuckles along the way.” It’s at this point that I drop the mic and stroll nonchalantly off the stage.