Surviving the eBookalypse
By Randy Henderson
I entered the City Public Library wearing my plastic replica chainmail and sword, and my suede “book jacket” with a laminated author’s license clipped to the collar.
Before me stood a fully automated checkout kiosk for scheduling author recitals. The library floor beyond that was filled with neat rows of author cubicles, each with a desk and chair. Most were occupied. The air was filled with the soft tickity-ticking of keyboards, and the smells of coffee, “New Book” scented air fresheners, and Cup o’ Soup. Heads popped up over cubicle walls in response to the clacking of the door, then disappeared again when they saw I was no customer or potential patron.
I understood their disappointed expressions too well. This was not at all where I thought I would be two years after publishing my first e-book.
A woman’s smile caught my attention. It was like cherry-haloed sunshine, floating between her neon blue hair and her black lace dress. She emerged from a cube in the Romance section, walked up to me, leaned in close and sniffed at the air. Then she said with the hint of a Mexican accent, “I smell a transfer from Bainbridge library, no? An MFA boy, if I’m not mistaken?”
“That obvious?” I asked.
“Lucky guess.” She laughed, and flicked my author’s license. “Says so right here.”