E-readers: Why the hold-out?

11 Nov

I read a blog from Pimp My Novel and today’s post asked readers to comment on why they hadn’t converted to an e-reader yet. I read through and saw the most common responses; cost, restricted lending ability, the feel of books, and so on.

I started to comment on the blog and then realized that it was long enough for a post of my own. Needless to say, I shorted the comment into something someone might actually read and then decided to move the rest of my thoughts here.

Why are my thoughts important? Because I’m going to say what probably everyone is thinking, but not one of the comments before mine mentioned. If I had to guess, it’s because most people don’t want to admit it either to themselves or the public.

I am an e-reader hold out. Certainly I have many of the same reasons already listed. They are part of my decision not to buy one. But the largest part of my decision…


I’m in an environment where people don’t generally read. So the fact that I do makes people automatically assume that I’m intelligent, cultured, and/or successful. (I’m a switchboard operator who hasn’t even finished college yet. They have no reason to assume successful, but they think I will be.)

They always want to ask me about what I’m reading and tell me about that “one book” they read and loved. I like those conversations. If you have an e-reader, people don’t automatically assume that you’re reading. You could be playing solitaire for all they know (E-readers do have games on them).

If I see a complete stranger who’s reading something I’ve already read, I’ll start up a conversation with them about it. If they’re reading on an e-reader, I’m not about to ask them what they’re reading to avoid that awkward never-heard-of-it conversation.

When people come to my house, they’ll peruse the bookshelves. They’ll see a book on the end table and flip through it. Those things are on display. I want to people to look at them. But nobody is going to pick up my e-reader to see what I’m reading because it’s perceived as an invasion of personal space.

So, maybe my reason is shallow, but I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only person thinking it.


Posted by on 2010/11/11 in Books, Marketing


3 responses to “E-readers: Why the hold-out?

  1. Kendra

    2010/11/13 at 10:04

    While I wouldn’t have thought about that before reading this, you do have a good point. But then sometimes (not necessarily enough to warrant the purchase of an e-reader) you don’t want people to know what you are reading. Such as when you are reading a self-help book or possibly a religious text you think might provoke confrontation or cause someone to think less of you. But I agree with what you are saying overall, people aren’t going to pick up your e-reader and see what you are reading. Plus, I do love those conversations as well when someone else has read what I am reading or vice versa. Good point.

    • Candice Beever

      2010/11/13 at 12:11

      Yeah, that’s true about certain books. But most people only read a few of those and they usually just leave them at home. And like you said, I’m not going to spend $150 on an e-reader just to hide those few books from people. But maybe that’s just me and I’m not usually shy about reading (or maybe I just don’t buy the books that would make me hesitant to tell people about them). Because really, no matter what you’re reading, there’s always someone that would be interested and the trick is finding out who’s interested in what books.

  2. Jillian ♣

    2011/05/14 at 13:32

    I think your reasons for holding out are sound. I confess I feel exactly the same. Can’t say I’ll always feel the same…


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