December 30th, 2010

Gimmie Shelter

I few months ago I wrote about my main objection to the Kindle: that there is an experience to having an actual book that people can see you read that is very social.

I've been reminded of that over the past five days. At the end of 2010 in Montpellier, France if you walk around with an English language copy of "Life" as soon as you sit down people will come up to you and ask you about it.

"Is it any good?"

"Can I look at the pictures?"

"Where did you get it?"

"How much did it cost?"

"Does he slag Mick?"


A lot of this comes from the fact that English language hard cover books run about $50 or $60 here - so people either buy them used or wait until they come out on paperback, because that's real money. Also, the local English language bookshop is nice but doesn't have a huge selection and "Life" hasn't appeared on their shelves yet.

So, yeah, people see the French language version in Virgin Megastore, but the English language version has novelty value.

I've met more new people since I started reading this book than I have in the past three months. And, it creates conversation, because, shit, anyone who is going to ask about the book when they see it in your hands is going to have some opinion on The Stones and Keith and that's very fucking social.

And, that's a good thing. And, it's something that will slowly disappear as Kindle and e-readers become more and more popular. After all, if I was in a cafe with a Kindle, how would anyone know I'm not reading Dan Brown?