Monday, June 04, 2012

On Electronic Reading Devices

Without wishing to sound even more Luddite than usual, I've realised I have an acute problem with electronic reading devices like the Kindle. 

I retain enough faith in the intelligence of the British public to assume that many, if not most, of us know that 'Tropic of Cancer' and 'Delta of Venus' are dirty books. People can read them if they like and it's nobody else's business what you read, but if you were to read those books in public somebody nearby would know that you were reading a dirty book. 

With Kindles or other such devices, each product manufactured with the same appearance and with the screen only accessible to the reader, any fear of social disapproval that might be felt should one feel the urge to read 'Tropic of Cancer' on the bus to work in the morning could easily be overcome. I'm sure that those who regulate and monitor the content which can be viewed through these devices apply extremely rigorous selection criteria; yet I can't help but think of one definition of Japanese society I once came across, that the Japanese salaryman will break into a cold sweat at the thought of not having the right type of coffee for a guest while having no compunction about reading hardcore pornography on the train. 

I really wouldn't like us to go down that route. The time may come when I might find one very useful, in which case I'll be at the head of the queue to get one; but not yet.



Blogger PJMULVEY said...

Martin: Great to have you back. I have a Kindle....I was initially resistant and skeptical; but now see its place alongside my paper bound books. I have been reading many older books free...hitherto inaccessible (see Project Gutenberg). I still think that the prices are rigged by the publishers and Amazon for many non-popular titles. I lament the decline of paper media and wonder what will happen to future learning if there is no the new dark ages who will preserve the past? All the best, Patrick

05 June, 2012 15:48  
Blogger Martin said...

A very good question, Patrick, and thank you very much for the kind comments.

As to who will preserve the past in the future dark, my father has been commending 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' to me for nearly 30 years - maybe I should get round to it.

It is so nice to be back in touch with you, my friend. God bless you.

05 June, 2012 22:57  

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