I love reading, and I also love my kindle. Not only have I been reading far more books since I got it, I’ve also been reading a wider range of books. Whenever I get on the tube I have the option of reading that text book I need to get through…or the latest in that trilogy of books that I can’t stop reading, I have the choice there and then without having to lug around a thousand books in my bag. In that instance I usually choose the fiction book I can’t put down. So I guess in some ways the kindle is actually encouraging bad habits.
One of the downsides to reading from the kindle now, is that no one can tell what I’m reading. Admittedly, if I was the type of person to read Twilight, this may actually be a great thing, I can read trashy novels without anyone else on the train knowing about it. But no, I actually think overall it’s a bad thing. Every now and then, I used to meet some very cool people on the tube, all because of the book I was reading. They’d see the cover and then strike up a conversation about the book: “Oh, how do you like it? I really liked the opening, especially the bit with the…” or maybe “is that so and so’s new book? I read her last one but wasn’t sure about this one, do you like it?” and so on. And I loved these interactions! They were like mini impromptu and anonymous book clubs. But now, with my kindle out, no one knows what I’m reading about, and so no one asks. Again, this may actually be a good thing for some people; when recently talking to my Aunt who was thinking of buying a kindle, I pointed out this apparent flaw to her, that no longer would people chat to her about the book she was reading. Her response to this was “Great. Good point. I’m buying one”.
Well, I used to like those interactions, and I miss them now! So, I started thinking about how I could bring them back. It’s simple really: add a title to the back of my kindle. And that’s what I’ve done!
Ok, I know it’s low tech at the moment. But I want to see if this makes a difference, if people start talking to me about the books I’m reading again. I think this wouldn’t be something that would be too hard to incorporate into a kindle cover: add a little e-ink screen, interface with the device via the spine or mini USB. Done! I think one issue may be that we do judge books by their cover, that is we recognise particular cover images. Especially if that book has just come out on film for instance. So my little title and author sticker might not do the trick, but we’ll see! I shall be trialling this on the tube for a little while to see what happens.
I will let you know.