September 10, 2010

The stigma of reading alone


Looking for someone to read with?

Looking for someone to read with?

We don’t link to New York Times stories too often, mostly because everyone else does, and we’re looking for a different (smarter) perspective. But this gem by Austin Considine that appeared in the Times while we were on hiatus has given us pause to consider — it either shows why you shouldn’t read the Times, or why you should, we can’t decide. It’s about how ebooks can help you to finally overcome the isolation of reading — or, as the article puts it, how ebooks have “helped banish social stigmas about reading alone in public.”

As, well, a dermatologist explains,

There may once have been a slight stigma about people reading alone, but I think that it no longer exists because of the advancement of our current technology, she said. We are in a high-tech era and the sleekness and portability of the iPad erases any negative notions or stigmas associated with reading alone.

As Open Letter publisher Chad Post noted in a comment on his blog, Three Percent,

A stigma about people reading alone? Do most people read together in groups? I think I’ve been doing this all wrong . . .

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives