Is a Book Still a Book on Kindle?

(Thanks to Cathy for linking to this!)

amazon-kindle-booksNew York Times article asks is a book still a book if it’s read on Kindle/Sony Reader/any other device? It was an interesting article and I’d recommend giving it a read.

I don’t have a Kindle or Sony Reader for several reasons. Firstly, I couldn’t afford one , and secondly, I’m just not sure than I do want one even if I could. I know the real book versus e-book debate isn’t a new one and I’m not about to go over it all again – mainly because I can see both sides of the argument. I am, however, pleased and fascinated to read a new (to me) arguing point in the New York Times, a reputable, one might even argue ‘high-brow’ paper…

If you’re reading on a Kindle, no one can be impressed with what you’re reading.

I’m not saying that I read to impress, far from it. In fact, the range of my reading habits are more likely to confuse than impress. But I do agree with the articles point that what you are seen to be reading does make an impression, favourable or otherwise. I like being out and about and being able to see what other people are reading. I enjoy people-watching via their book covers. With the e-device, I have no idea what they’re reading.

I myself have been caught out reading documents on my phone (not an e-reader, but it does support text files) – people have asked me what I’m reading, knowing that I’m a reader, and surprised when I answer that I’m reading fanfiction*. The Kindle takes the fun out of book-spying. And, hey, I like book-spying!

What about you? Has (or do you anticipate) these devices taking some of the fun out of your reading in this regard? Or is it just me?



*Not that there’s anything wrong with fanfiction, I’m somewhat of an addict, but it’s not exactly Shakespeare.


Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I don't care what other people think of what I am reading but there is a part of me that does.

I think we all want to make an impression, consciously or not, the clothes we wear, the way we style our hair, and what books we choose to show.

I travel a lot on trains and I usually read. I find that, occasionally, I'll become self-conscious of people around me and in that moment I want my book to a high-brow intellectual and simulating novel.

Then I think: who cares? It's doubtful anyone does. However, saying that, I do enjoy looking at what people are reading too. It does make an impression true or not.

For example, if I saw two people on a train, one is reading some award-winning novel, and the other is reading a gossip magazine, I would think that the novel reader is more intelligent.

Which is a ridiculous assumption to make but in situations like those you're prejudices can cause a snap decisions.

I think if I had an e-book reader, I would be more consciously aware of the "outside". When I'm reading I usually go "inside" the book, I'm not aware of anything else.

Anyway, this is kind of a dull comment so I'll end it here.

Jenners said...

I do have a Kindle and I've found that I've been able to "lose" myself in a book just like a real book. And as for "book spying," I've found that if I read my Kindle in public, I end up getting asked about it quite a bit ... which usually leads to the book.

And when you are reading something you might rather you not wish people to know you are reading, the Kindle is great for going undercover!!!

Serena said...

I can't afford a reader either and I certainly don't prefer reading on a computer-like screen since that's what I do all day long at work.

I don't think much about perceptions when I'm reading on the bus or metro, so I guess that argument doesn't apply to me...and my reading tastes are so variegated.

wendy said...

I'm a serious paper is better person (the feel of the book in your hand etc.) but, I also must confess to like technology (now that I have the guru to guide me) and a kindle seems like a good way to carry around those heavier texts that you can't fit in your handbag (like the 900 page scary devil book) so I want one (but like you budget won't rise to one). I don't think there's any necessary virtue attached to reading high art, sometimes I think it puts people, who may otherwise talk to you, off & if I'm chatting to anyone about books I don't care what they're reading. Reading is a virtue in itself.

Anonymous said...

I think that the main value of kindle and other ebook readers will be as was mentioned in that article - carrying work-related texts. It's not much to put a paperback in your bag (and they often get bashed around anyway) but when you have armfuls of notes or textbooks, things start to get a little different.

Callista said...

No. To me what's on a kindle or other device is a story, but not a book.

I do book cover spying on the bus although I rarely ever run into people reading on the bus these days. However there are times like at doctor's offices or whatever when I am reading about a certain health issue or religious issue that I'd rather others not see what I'm reading so then a kindle would be good.

Someone mentioned work texts, I think having all your text books for high school would be great on a kindle too. Many a student has suffered back and shoulder pain from carting home too many huge text books.

The Book Resort said...

I want a Kindle, but I want it to carry tons of books when I'm out & about & want to sample a little bit of everything ~ like a book buffet.

I also want it for the staus of owning one.

I want one b/c Oprah has one & I want one, too.

I love book spying, too... so this will lessen eyes on my reads.

I want one & I will get one, but the $$$ $pent on it will take away $$$ on buying books!!!

I love the feel, taste & smell of books!!!