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Culture, Digital

Can’t Judge a Reader by the Book Cover

By | November 21, 2010
The Dodocase

The Dodocase. Image: courtesy of

You there! What are you reading? Unfortunately in the brave new world of digital publishing, I’ll never know. Gone are the days of my favorite pastime: judging my fellow morning commuters based on what they are reading. I used to have a window into a reader’s world based solely on their literary choices. Now I just have the cold metallic backside of a Kindle or iPad (But to be honest, I do judge you a little bit if you have a Sony E-Reader).

Consider the joy I had just last year in imagining how a person came to be reading a tattered copy of The Amityville Horror. That’s a long book and certainly we know by now it wasn’t really haunted. I give that man credit for saying, “Yes, this is the book I’ve always been meaning to read and today is the day!” or that woman reading Highlights, is she merely bringing it home to her children or does she believe that even adults should be getting their moral cues from Goofus and Gallant? These people lead fascinating lives, if only in my over-active imagination.

Digital publishing offers none of those creative exercises/time killers for voyeurs like me. Their stories are all the same now. Man buys iPad. Man probably talks too much about how great the iPad is to his friends. Man reads something on iPad across from me for the next four subway stops. Could he throw me a bone by just yelling out “I just wish I could write in the margins of this digital Glen Beck book like I could the hardcover version!” or “Whoever is in charge of picking this font for Dwell Magazine should be shot!!!”

No, they just sit there quietly, occasionally flicking their fingers across the screen, reading who knows what. Sadly, I’m not in the know.

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