Does the absence of covers make the heart grow fonder?

Friday, July 30, 2010

I've written before about how e-books take away the fun of judging people by their book covers. You want to think everyone staring into a Kindle is reading David Foster Wallace when they're probably reading Stieg Larsson or a book on how to beat the house in Vegas. Mark Oppenheimer has a similar piece at Slate about how he'll miss the way book covers led his romantic interests:

So what will you do, Kindle generation, when you cannot tell which of the quiet boys holding the e-reader on the subway is engrossed by the latest, predictable legal thriller, and which one by a cheery, long-forgotten Laurie Colwin novel? If by some chance you do end up with the right one, what do you buy him a month later, when it is time for that first, tentative, not-too-expensive present—a gift certificate for a free download?

A personal anecdote, for what it's worth: my wife is a realtor, and for a few years I sometimes helped cover some of her appointments. Any time I went to a new condo, I looked at the bookshevles first and judged accordingly. Chicago, by the way, you read way too much Dan Brown.