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Displaying What You Read With Ebooks?

Feb 7, 2011   [permalink]

There was a post about physical books creating emotional attachments, such as seeing walls of books in your home showing what you read, seeing what someone is reading near you and striking up a conversation, getting them signed, etc.

While authors signing ebooks isn't difficult — here's how I do it — I agree that I like to see a wall of books. I do miss seeing reminders of the ebooks I've read. There's something pleasant about the memories it brings to see the titles I've read and seeing the books on the to-be-read shelf reminds me what I need to read next, and gives me a bit of excitement for future enjoyments.

On the other hand, a wall-sized screen that showed books (when not in use for something else) would probably work just as well for me.

(I think there might be something about the density of titles in one's field of view, however. An ebookstore-like display of a small number of covers at once doesn't have the same effect for me as seeing thousands at once, so I would want a large wall-sized screen for it, with equal resolution to see spines as readably as I can see them on the shelves now. And the interactive ability to walk over, touch one, and have it appear for reading, either on the wall [awkward] or instantly on the reader device in my hand.)

As for striking up conversations with people, that raises an interesting privacy question. I know I've done it — I'll see someone on vacation reading a science fiction book and say hey, ask how they like it, etc. I've also done that when seeing someone reading on a Kindle/Nook/etc. — but that's only because ereaders are still fairly new, and it's nothing about what they're reading, just what they're reading it on. That will lose value as a conversation starter as it gets common.

So the question is, with paper, unless you go out of your way to put a book cover on your print book, people around you know what you're reading. Do you prefer it be kept private as with an ebook, or would you like it if the back of the reader displayed a cover, or...?

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