The very secret life of e-book readers

Posted on by Mike Evans

51CCmIHPoCL._SL160_AA115_Last week, sitting in a train, I saw a fellow traveller reading a book called The Snowman by Jo Nesbo. It was a thick tome and sported a sticker on the front with the words "The Next Stieg Larrson." I have a soft spot for Larsson's books because they were the first three novels I read entirely on my iPhone. As you know, I am a great advocate of reading on the little phone. And through Larsson's books, I renewed my acquaintance with Scandinavian crime writing which had been kindled many years ago by Henning Mankell and his Wallander series. So I was a sucker for another auther, this time a Norwegian, and as I left my station I bought Nesbo's book from the  Kindle Store and started reading.

Only as I read the first chapter did I realise that this voyeuristic collecting of interesting books to read was a doomed delight. How can you see what people are reading if they have a Kindle or an iPad in their hands? No interesting cover to sneak a glimpse of, no savouring of a potential purchase. I realised that no one knows what you are reading on a Kindle (which would have been fine for 1960s readers of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" who had to cover the book in brown paper) but not so handy for anyone keen to find out what's being read in the seat opposite.

I suppose this is a price we will have to pay for progress. In the meantime, I can thoroughly recomment Jo Nesbo's series of crime books. Instead of starting with The Snowman, though, I would recommend going to the earliest books and working your way through. It's interesting, though: Without the phenomenal success of Stieg Larsson there would probably have been little interest in Nesbo and this would have been a great pity. 

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