Fear in Writing: E-Reader: How dost one marketeth?

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, December 28, 2009

E-Reader: How dost one marketeth?

Kay Scarpetta battles southern conspiracy and bad writing in her middle-aged hands. Robert Langdon uncovers centuries-old symbolise with earth shattering consequences in his twenty-somethings. And in that child's anxious fingers, Peter Pan still fights the same pirates and saves the same Tiger Lily; and it brings the same wonder.

But the businessman with the bloated PDA? Words and images float down his page and he seems to be engrossed in a story. His attention has barely wavered from the "page" before him, but what has him so caught up? Is it an international thriller with nuclear warfare at the center of the plot? Is it an historical fiction set in the American West, ravaged land for a ravaged people? Or is this perfectly coiffed man hiding his love for romance novels inside this electronic box?

Gone are the colorful covers advertising a writer's work. Gone are the blaring titles and large-print author's name.

Immediately one great form or marketing has disappeared.

What are you reading, Kindle customer? What are you buying, Nook reader? It is now your secret.


  1. You know, that is perhaps one of the biggest reasons I don't like e-readers but no one ever mentioned it before. Only that they might miss the feel of the pages, of a book in their hands. I have also always pondered how the regular person(not marketer or publisher)knows what everyone is reading?

    Great post!

  2. Cleverly pointed out, good lady. Now I can't show off how smart I am by reading Poetry for Dummies on the bus... :)

    As a consumer, however, I'm rarely influenced by what other people are reading in public, primarily because I'm always nose-deep in my own book. Still, it's certainly something to think about. How long will it be before the back of the Kindle becomes an e-ink display with a constantly-changing series of book ads on it?

  3. I think that I rely more on Amazon lists now than I used to...to find books my son will like. I basically just pull up the last book he enjoyed and see what the recommendations are for other books that were similar.

    I haven't gotten a reader yet. I still feel like I'm waiting for the format stuff to settle down before I commit. I don't want to be stuck with the equivalent of a betamax!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. It's such a shame to think of all the beautiful covers that adorn books now won't be seen before long. How can the electronic readers entice impulse buyers? Now you see a cover you like, you pick it up and buy it.

    Very thoughtful post today. Thanks.

  5. Great post!

    This is something that I have been having a hard time with lately! I mean...I LOVE technology and am normally on board with the latest crazes but this one...not so much. There's something about the feel and smell of a book that in my mind is just hard to replace. And as you aptly point out - I love seeing what others are reading!

    Most family members know my love of reading and I've had the fear several years in a row that I would recieve the Kindle as a gift and have to feign excitement! Luckily for me it hasn't happened yet! I'm just not ready...

    But as an avid reader I can also see the purpose and instant gratification involved as well! Darn internal conflict...

  6. I hadn't thought of that aspect of the ereaders. Good point.

    I live in a small Canadian city, and have yet to see a Kindle or any other form of ereader in real life. :) But, I know they'll eventually be here as well. I do like checking out what people are reading in public. I'll miss that.

  7. Hmm, I have not yet gotten on the whole kindle bandwagon. Indeed, it will take me a while. I resisted the DVD player for as long as I could. And I'm a bit old school when it comes to book (so until they can recreate that new book gluey smell in the kindle reader and the feel of pages turning, I may just skip it for my regular reading altogether). That said, I'm very much interested in seeing what people are reading. I don't necessarily go out and buy what I see (actually, never), but it tells me a lot of a person, and I'm extremely nosy like that.

    But excellent point made, m'dear. I'm also curious about this kindle revolution and how it's changing the face of publishing.

    Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season.

  8. Interesting. I haven't thought about that either. I am not an e-reader owner (and probably won't be one any time soon because I love my paper). But I have picked up books in the past because I saw someone reading them in a public place--though I don't think it's a very reliable method of finding good books.

  9. My wife and I are going to look at these today. I heard they do not light up at night, which if true, would prevent me from buying one. Hope its not true.

    Stephen Tremp

  10. I am glad this post hit everyone where it counts: right in the reader! I won't reply to you all individually, because that would take forever, but a few points should be addressed.

    1. Book glue can never be replaced and I, too, must have that smell!

    2. I don't buy based on what I see someone reading either, but I long for the day I see someone reading my cover and my name! And I am sure there are some people who are influenced by seeing others reading our books repeatedly (we can hope, right?).

    3. Don't light up at night? You mean you need a book light for your Kindle? A Nooklight? A KindleCandle?