I saw a tweet come across my stream today from John Hodgman, the comedian who had a stint on those wonderful Apple ads as the buttoned-up “PC” arrayed against the calmly confident casual “Mac”. The tweet said (see picture): “Middle aged business dude on the plane in Eddie Bauer and mom jeans reading Game of Thrones. The nerd/jock convergence is happening.”
I immediately thought, “Oh, he was clearly reading a print book” since if he had it on an e-reader Hodgman wouldn’t have been able to glance over and see what he was reading. And then I thought “What a shame, we will increasingly be unable to notice what others are reading.”
Reading is going underground at the speed of e-reader adoption. No longer will people be able to proudly sport the latest intellectual best-seller on the subway, or impress one’s boss by having the flavor-of-the-month business advice tome placed carefully on one’s desk. Well, I guess you can still do that as long as print books are still available, but if you have an e-reading device your boss might begin to think she is being played.
I can’t help wondering if we will invent new ways to flaunt our reading habits, or whether instead this new-found privacy will enable us to stop posturing in public and simply read the trashy novels many of us secretly wish we could but were too embarrassed to take onto the street? You decide, and let me know in the comments.