Does Kindle stop you buying a book by its cover?

Perhaps one of the unsung influences of Kindle is the way that it has reduced, or, some say, even eliminated, the influence of book cover design.

I confess I have not yet been warmed by the kindle of Kindle.

Somehow, the presence of yet another machine in my already messed-up world might make me entirely unserviceable.

However, an increasing number of literate beings are finding themselves rather aroused by their Kindle experience.

Tuesday, seated at a rather friendly bar sipping something Spanish, I was regaled with the story of a rather happily married couple who believe that Kindle has changed not only the convenience of reading but actually their choice of books.

The wife, a suave, cool lady of aristocratic bearing, decided to buy her more bullish husband one of Amazon's little inventions.

"Here's what I learned," he explained. "I really did used to buy a book by its cover."

I must admit that, for a nervous second, I looked his wife's way. She is a handsome woman, and I feared she might have sensed too great an allusion to her own self in the husband's words.

Has it really turned Tiddles on to Mark Twain? CC Notratched/Flickr

Thankfully, she didn't even flinch as he explained that he was so influenced by the way books had been designed in the past that he would ignore certain tomes if their superficial tones didn't appeal.

"Now, I just choose on the basis of what sounds good, not what looks good," he said. "Any covers on Kindle are black and white and grainy. They just don't seem significant when compared to the book's content."

I'm sure I caught the wife giving a look that suggested she had longed to smarten up her husband a little. I didn't have the guts to ask, but I'm sure he only used to buy books about macho detectives who murder people mindlessly and sportsmen who have recovered from alcohol dependency and significant injury.

Still, now he has discovered, or even dis-covered, his literary freedom.

Before I could pause for Spanish sustenance, he also explained that he used to stand in bookstores and see if he could read a couple of pages without ruining the book.

Now, Kindle offers him a sample chapter, which is enough to decide whether to buy or flee, without the risk of guilt through the accidental fracture of a spine.

I wonder how many people have not only fallen for the sheer alleged convenience of Kindle, but because it has filled their minds with works they would not otherwise have touched.

Could Kindle be a way to re-educate the world? Could it help us to bypass those scheming, artsy book designers and finally be true to our own genuine interests?

Could it really make me try Danielle Steel? You see, those gaudy pink covers have always put me off.

 

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