But they can also facilitate some particularly smart, interesting, and unusual conversations.
If you find yourself struggling to come up with new things to talk about in marathon phone calls with your long-distance partner, why not start a little book club?
There are some great devices that make sharing books easy and fun.
At Amazon, you can lend a Kindle book to another reader for up to 14 days, and the Nook allows some sharing as well.
The two of you can pick something you’ve both been wanting to read – be it a novel, a memoir, hell, it could even be a magazine article – and set a date to discuss.