My autumn Levenger catalog was received with bright-eyed fanfare this week and borne with anticipation over to ‘the writing couch‘. I reserve a few quiet moments each season to drool over the immaculately-designed, perfectly-balanced pens and muse inwardly on the various notebooks and book bags for which I harbor strong inclinations of purchasing. This particular catalog is always so craftily put together… and so in a way that lifts it out of the ‘everyday’ category into the realm of Elegant Enticement Merchandise. The layout folks garner a good chunk of my respect as I browse the pages for the scenes pictured are not ‘perfect’; the neatly-organized desks therein harbor a bit of scribbled notepaper or a whimsical stack of books in partial disarray, complete with a set of spectacles as if they were just discarded on the way to answering the front door… things which speak to business-folk, writers, readers and casual shoppers alike.

However, this issue was distinctly different than those I’ve previously thumbed through, mainly that in among the books, pens, notebooks and leather office accessories I spotted no less than ten iPads. Some of the uber-svelte devices lay on lap-desks, reposed on custom ‘charging stations’ or peered out from the rounded edges of book-bags. I also saw one cell phone, two blackberry-type devices, an unknown eReader and a Palm in a pear tree. Aware already that iPads are top on many folks’ Christmas lists, I still wondered if the sheer number of the devices present in the catalog wasn’t a visual symptom of “If-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em-itis, causing the pen-touting company to attempt to marry ePens and ‘real’ pens into one, solid literary consortium. The Levenger website also has a tote/bag section devoted to the device, titled “iPad-friendly“.

Whether the iPad will continue to be quasi-universally accepted or not, I admit that the device sure looked like it belonged on the desk next to a stack of books and a comfy chair, its bright screen peeping coquettishly from a messenger bag (the one I’ve had my eye on since last year) it’s ready-to-move packaging–next to the traditional comfort of sitting with a book–silently invoking a quandary for the viewer, rather reminiscent of the 80′s song “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Curious, I looked around the Net for more catalogs in which the iPad showed up recently, especially where no device had ever been featured as prominently. Apple must not had made a deal with Pottery Barn as I found naught but generic laptops and desktops pictured on their ‘home office’ webpages; I found the same went for Sears, World Market and Target, though the latter did picture an iPhone-like device on a desk in a charger. I looked all over the IKEA website for an iPad but still no dice; perhaps they pictured one on the IKEA app… if not, then I’d call that delightfully ironic.

Apple may be missing out on influencing present and future consumers by limiting iPad catalog cameos. Perhaps REI or Campmor would feature iPads for campers if Apple came out with a solar-powered charging station that had some rugged/waterproof qualities to it. Nothing is quite like hearing a story read aloud by the ol’ campfire, making young children inadvertently forget about the dark scary woods encircling the camp and listen with rapt attention. My father read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to us from a worn, fabric-covered set of paper books instead of on a battery-powered gadget, but the times they are a-changin’.

If I ever purchase an iPad, I might buy a well-built desk to go with it, if said item comes with a device-charging station built in… or, I may just use that same money to buy some Levenger items (one good messenger bag, two excellent pens and five quality notebooks) and still have money leftover for a new battery-pack (for my yet-functioning laptop) a warm coat and winter boots on eBay, enough organic seeds for the spring planting and one hundred hardback books via a year of yard sales.

Via The Author’s Weblog


  1. Didn’t Levenger used to always bill themselves as a purveyor of ‘Tools for Readers’? They have their own brand of fountain pen — I’m a little surprised they haven’t jobbed out the manufacture of a Levenger-branded e-reader. But maybe that’s next.

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