Apr 18 2012 2:52pm

These Are Not the Readers You’re Looking For: Shame in Reading

E-readerOn Twitter today, many book bloggers were talking about being approached by a news media outlet to talk on record about being grateful for their e-readers because they are ashamed of our covers.

Perhaps instead they should be approaching people who normally don’t read, and aren’t the usual romance novel fans to talk about their shame (those suburban mommies who picked up Fifty Shades, for example, and  hadn’t read a book in years prior to that).

Because as far as we know, we’re not using e-readers because of shame, but for many other reasons: Access to material, speed of delivery, convenience, commuting comfort.

Why do you love your e-reader?

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K.M. Jackson
1. kwanawrites
Because all my bookshelves are now overfilled to the max. This way I can buy freely and not feel the hoarder side eye from my husband. The next reason: I'm never without a variety of books to read at any time.
2. helgagrace
I don't have a proper ereader, but I love having ebooks on my ipod--I know that I will never be without a book when I'm stuck in line, or waiting longer than I expect to be, or, god forbid, stuck in an elevator. I also have found it a great way to read advance copies of books that I am going to review.

As for romance covers, anyone who doesn't think they're awesome is cracked. #longlivefabio
3. Terree L
The cover has NOTHING to do with it! I've read romance since I was a preteen! I love that I can highlight a word and word search to see where a character first came into the book-I love that I can keep my whole library with me all the time so I can go from book to book in a series to refresh my memory with a character in just a few minutes! I love that I can set my ebook down or put it in my purse and pick it up hours later and it is still on the page I left it! I love that I can read it over and over and over again and it wont wear out the pages. I HATE this though. I have a habbit of throwing my book across the room when I get upset at a character... I can't do that any longer... trade offs :)
Jennifer Denning
4. redheadedjen
Some romance covers are so cheesy that I do get a little bit embarassed by them on the train, where I do a lot of reading (both regular books and with my Kindle) but that does not really stop me most of the time from reading romance on the train. I will admidt it.
5. Dorothy F. Shaw
Because it's convenient. I love that I can instantly download the next book in a series and don't have to seek it out in the store. I still LOVE my print books and continue to add to my collection of those I own from a series. I also collect signed copies, shelf them and then buy a copy for my e-reader. There is no shame in what I read or the cover. Good grief. I feel bad for those that feel that way... There's obviously some other issue beneath that.

Thanks for the post!
6. Melissa Fox
I'm so glad the media is telling me what I should be ashamed about. Otherwise, I might turn into a brazen hussy, and that would be a real shame. I thought I bought an e-reader because of the convenience of buying, storing, and carrying--just like every other person of either sex who buys one--but I guess it's just because I'm ashamed I'm a woman who loves to read romances. Grr.
7. remygirl84
I have an e-reader for the simple fact that some series have books out that are ONLY in e-book form. I would never stop buying paper books. An e-reader does not have the smell of a paper book, and like Terree said above you can not throw it when it makes you angry.

If people want to judge me for my book covers, then I will judge them for not being a reader!!!!
8. Jessica(NovelReaction)
I LOVE my ereader because I can carry so many books around at the same time. I took a vacation to Hawaii a couple of years before I got my ereader and the 15 books I took to read during the vacation (which I finished all of them and then had to buy another one for the plane ride home) was bulky and almost put my lugguage over the accepted weight. I love being able to have my library with me at all times and how easy it is to hold while laying in bed at night (no more awkward propping of books up but I do miss the ink smudges my pinkies used to get). I have always been an avid reader of romance (among other genres) and have never let the covers stop me from reading in public.
9. HannahI
I read electronically mostly for the convenience factor. I admit that I'm embarassed by the "mantitty" romance covers. However I'm even more ashamed of anyone would judge me for reading romance in the first place.
10. JanineD
Convenience! It is so nice to get that long awaited book ( *cough* Lover Reborn *cough* ) within seconds of release! Plus I can access all of my books whenever I want! Has nothing at all to do with the cover of the books
11. uscwriter
I finally gave in and bought Fire... I am thrilled to have it because I live in a town with no bookstore. I drive almost an hour to the nearest Barnes and Noble, and I only do that every once in a while. My e-reader allows me instant access to millions of books whenever I want them.

Kim in NC
Kiersten Hallie Krum
12. Kiersten
I actually never use the Kobo I bought 2 years ago for a variety of reasons. Read ebooks on laptop when I do.

BUT - if I wasn't all ready totes in love w/y'all I would be now for that headline alone. MWAH.
13. Saruh
At first, I wasn't a fan of e-readers. However that soon changed once my daughter was born last February and I realized how convenient it was that I didn't have to leave the house to get a book to read, I didn't have to drag a newborn out to go to the library- I could do it from my Nook..and I could comfortable read in any position without having to finnigle to see the page!
14. Charlayne
I read on Nook and I have Kindle on my computer and I read all the time. I don't do it to hide anything, I do it because it is fun. My husband reads on the bus and he has a Nook as well. He reads history and science fiction mostly but I have him, finally, reading J.R. Ward's Brotherhood books.

The only book I've ever purposely hidden is a copy of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich my husband was reading on the bus because it had a huge swastika on it. I covered it with a paper sack book cover and labeled it with "Reading Material". Sadly, sometimes history is worse than porno.
15. Rose In RoseBear
I ain't 'shamed of what I read! I have a Kindle because I got one for my birthday last year --- didn't ask for it, didn't thnk I'd like it, fell in love when I found out I could get free books on it! As of this moment, I have 369 books on it. THAT'S why I have a Kindle!
16. samicami
My room is stuffed with books, so my e-reader solves that problem. Plus I love to re-read, and I'll have moments where I'll just really want to read a certain book again, so now instead of having to wait till I get home, i just pull out my Kindle and I'm ready to go! That's why I love my Kindle.....well, that and all the free books..
17. JacquiC
I confess. I'm somewhat embarrassed by the romance covers. I spent much of my teen years being ridiculed by my mother (an academic) for my reading choices. I just have no interest in defending my reading choices anymore, and the anonymity of my kindle relieves me of this necessity. But it has other benefits too. The main one is that I am an avid and very fast reader. If I have time, I can power through several books a day, especially if they are shorter category romances. I don't have the bookshelf space to buy these books in paper form. Also, it is of huge benefit while on vacation to be able to carry many books with me without increasing the weight of my suitcase. I will still buy paper versions of books I want to keep and re-read. Otherwise, I love the convenience of the e-reader. I read, I archive and I can re-read later if I want. No matter how long the book I am reading is, it always weighs the same amount!
Tori Benson
I love my e reader because it can hold over 3,000 books and it the size of a clutch handbag. I love my e reader becasue I can download a book instantly and don't have to drive anywhere to buy it. I love my e reader because I can tweet, email, and watch movies on it WHILE Im reading. I love my e reader because some of what I love to read is only pubbed in digtal. I have everything but the kitchen sink on my e reader and Im not ashamned of one single book on there. I read romance and I like it!

So there. :)
Elizabeth Halliday
19. Ibbitts
I don't have an e-reader. It's an economic impossibility. I don't know if I would use it if I did have one; I don't like to read on the computer. The only book cover I can remember reacting to was "Lothaire" ... that was cool! When I was in the 7th Grade, it seems my nose was always in a book, before classes and during lunch. Back in those days, a lot of things were differant than today. In school, one was issued a textbook rather than a computer, and the student was responsible for returning said textbook in good condition at the end of the term. Because of this, one covered the textbook in paper. There were precut paper covers designed for this purpose, or one could use most anything one chose: gift wrap, the Sunday funnypapers, etc. I used old book posters and hardback dust covers that I had collected when a local book store had discarded them. Another thing that was differant in those days: all adults felt compelled to boss around the children they came in contact with, whether it was their job or not. Sometimes that was a good thing; sometimes not. My English teacher was such an adult. One day I was sent to the Principal's Office for reading while I was standing in line to go into English class. As it turns out, the teacher in question pitched a fit about the material I was reading. I objected, quite strongly, as I had the belief that I could read whatever material I chose to prior to class. I did finally prevail, but not until the tracher and the principal discovered that I had covered my American History textbook with an old dust jacket from "Inside Daisy Clover". It was on that day that I confirmed to myself that the content, not the cover, was what was important.
Not just in books.
I haven't forgotten.
Lynnette Kirk
20. LynnetteKirk
I love my e-reader for ease of access and not needing to have an entire room dedicated to my books. That is the only reason I have an e-reader as I have never been embarrased about what I read. From Mystery to romance I never tried to hide the covers of my books. In fact, I usually lay them on my desk or where ever I'm at hoping it will pique the interest of a possible future reader.
Vanessa Ouadi
21. Lafka
I don't have a e-reader yet, I stock all my ebooks on my PC, and whenever I travel I bring a "real" book :) I do want a e-reader though, so I'll have every book I want ready to be read whenever I want.
BUT I must say the hidden-shameful-cover is quite a bonus. Let's face it, some books have AWFUL covers and/or titles _ not to mention some covers could offense grannies and kids _ and I don't feel always very at ease reading one of those in public. It doesn't mean that I'm ashamed of what I'm reading but it'd help if some covers weren't on display :)
Catwoman Felisamorata
22. Catwoman
I have an ereader and I also love print books. As for the covers - I've never, ever tried to hide a cover. Yes, there are some covers that are beyond awful, but actually, I buy based on the synopsis.

As to lovin' my ereader - I bought that puppy in August 2011 and (literally) not a day has gone by since that I have not had it in my hands. I now have over 275 books in my archive and probably 30 on the reader itself. I don't think I've watched a grand total of ten hours of TV since getting the reader. Having an entire bookstore inventory at my fingertips, not to mention at least four sites of library books - for someone like me it's like I've died and gone straight to heaven. I will always love print books, but having an ereader is nirvana and then some.
23. Rae39
I have an ereader because it is pretty easy to pack one of those for the plane for the traveling I do, or to hold one handed while my daughter drifts of to sleep, or sneak in five minutes of reading while waiting at a doctor's office. I have so limited spare time and having one in my pocket (because it cross-platforms between device and my phone easily), being able to reclaim five otherwise wasted minutes makes me stress less. ...and having a toddler means I'm short on space. ;)
Aly O'Hare
24. wingZER0angel
It's not the reason I have my ereader, but I do like the fact that people don't know what I'm reader, especially if I'm reading in public, at work, or in front of some of my guys friends, who will mock me for reading some of the things I do.
25. Valerie Bowman
I actually think a DOWNSIDE of the e-reader is not getting to see those lovely covers up close. It also makes me want to stick a romance novel cover over the top of the next great literary work I read just for spite. ;)
JaNell Mitchell
26. Nell
Any romance reader that has been reading romance for a given time will tell these dorks that the covers from the 70's & 80's are worse then they are today. They have just added more people and whips & chains to the covers today.
As for myself like most have already answered; so I can carry tons of romance with me everywhere. I currently have 1566 ebooks on my reader. That beats carry print books anyday, I wound need an eighteen wheeler driving behind me to haul that many print books.
I have the Sony touch ereader.
27. Reader Deb
I have an iPad and love that I am not restricted to one store or reader. I have iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, a library reader, etc. I travel a lot and agree with comments above that now I don't need to lug several books with me. The best part is when I finish one book in a new-to-me series, the next one is always available. The covers I found a little embarrassing were some of the scifi ones, not the romance covers. I still read in print, but more and more electronically.
marion bergner
28. ducky
Convenience, space considerations, adjustable font, having lots of books right at my fingertips - what's not to love?
29. Lovie
convenience! never go anywhere without my Kindle (except the shower, of course, unless i can devise a water/steam proof cover for it). Hubby also thinks the ebook reader is great coz it has saved his back, taking away the need for him to lug boxes upon boxes upon boxes of my books when we move house.... of course he still has HIS and the children's boxes of books to move; but hey, at least Kindle took away at least 2 tonnes of books he has to move

affordability of some books: i've test-read new (for me) authors by buying their 99c ebooks.. if i didnt like how the 99c book was written, then i dont go buy their $6 - $13 ones.

i must say the covers do bother me... putting different covers/dustjackets on them just feel a bit like cheating... its a pity coz cover artwork are really nice, aesthetically speaking, if you dont mind the 'airhead' label you get when people glance at the book then judge you by its cover... that's why i was thankful Harry Potter books came in adult-version covers :)

i fear for the day my hubby actually scrutinises our bank statements and discovers that i download at least 30 books/month :) there went the mortgage payment LOL
Robbie Thornton
30. Button
I'm going to give away my age here, but so be it. Some thirty years ago, when I was in my late teens, if you had told me that I could have one device, a device roughly the size of a thin paperback that could be easily stored in my purse, and that would hold all the books I was currently reading plus my entire library....WOW! I would have thought I'd died and gone to heaven. If you'd then told me that it was linked to a bookstore with literally hundreds of thousands of choices, that I could order books at a touch and that they would magically then "appear" on my device mere seconds later....I'd have probably scoffed some sort of "Get outta here!", so unbelievable it would have been.

Honestly, I think I would have been absolutely elated at the mere fantasy of such a device at that time. I know I would have sold my soul for it in the late 80's when I was loading my 2.5 children into carseats in my "mostly running" 12 year old station wagon for my bi-weekly 26 mile round trip to the closest library, a small local place, where I would have then had run herd on my brood while trying to find a two week supply of books that I was interested in and hadn't read yet, plus fresh children's books for them. Then with a baby on one hip and a dozen or so books in a big cloth bag I'd hustle them all back into the car and back home to plunder our new treasures.

E-readers are one of life's little miracles, plain and simple, as far as I'm concerned, and I'm not so jaded that I don't feel a sort of reverant awe for mine. Not necessarily for the device itself, but for the potential it represents. Practically any book or subject I can conceieve, at my fingertips. Awesome.

Cover shame? Really? Is that all the news has to report on these days? I'm pretty sure there's something going on somewhere that's a bit more newsworthy.
Diane Matters
31. Diane056
I finally bought a Kindle in January 2012. Since I was reading Kindle E Books on my PC on the nights I couldnt sleep it was a natural progression for me to want to be able to read them in a comfy chair rather than sitting at my comp. I love a book in hand but I also love that I have this very light weight option as a way of reading.

I just passed the 400 books downloaded. It sounds a bit insane, dont you think though that was easy to do actually because I bought the PRIME yearly membership. A daily email is sent that gives me access to free EBooks that fit to my interests. The nice thing about my reader is I throw it in my purse when I leave the house and where I used to have a few PBs in my purse ( it could get weighty if I was doing a lot of walking) I now just have this one thing to carry extra. Money well spent IMO.

Covers never bothered me much though some were really racy so I had covers for my books just in case. Reading public, I threw one on my book. I wasn't ashamed about my reading content though I always worried wee eyes would see some visuals that they didn't need to see under a certain age.
32. AAH
As so many have posted, I didn't want an ereader but now I cannot imagine living without one. I have one room in my house that is covered on 3 walls with double and triple stacked books, I have about half that number again on my Kindle & it takes up less space than one of those books.

The ease of the ereader is one of the biggest benefits for me, being able to bring any number of books with me on vacation or anywhere else has been a huge boon to my reading. Being able to finish one book & immediately download the next in a series is fantastic, I never have to find out that a book is out of stock! I can buy one book and then decide if I like it enough to continue a series. In physical format I'd either have to buy them all at once or wait until I could get to the store again or wait for it to be delivered.

Plus I have discovered so many different books and genres that I probably wouldn't have looked for in a traditional book store. This is probably the best part of ereaders, it's expanded my reading in so many different ways!

I love my Kindle & if anything happened to it I would immediately replace it. Shame over book covers doesn't have a thing to do with it.
33. Miss D
One main reason is a subgenre I've grown to love, multicultural romances, are expensive as paperbacks as well as being harder to find. It's musch easier and faster to for to be able to buy online and add to my kindle.
34. VannahBoosMom
I read exclusively on my phone. On there I have apps for my public library, Amazon, Kobo and Nook. It allows me to read wherever I go. I can even read in bed with the lights out so my hubby isn't disturbed. Gotta love modern technology!
35. slfoster01
Ashamed of what I read? Phft! I have a Sony, which I don't use because I found I didn't like reading ebooks, on ereader or on computer; I had discovered Ellora's Cave, bought books, then printed them to read. I stopped apologizing/hiding my book covers over 20 years ago based on a conversation went something like this: (paraphrased) " You read romance books (picture sneer here); I read Stephen King and books like that!" my response: "So you think reading books about people getting killed with ice-picks (I've never read Stephen King, lol!) is better than reading books about people who work to figure out how to have a relationship?" I carry a book (or 2, or 3, or more!) everywhere I go, cover proudly on display for all to see! Now, I even get the question "What are you reading?"
36. terrymike
I am another one that put off getting an eReader because I didn't think I would like it. I loved reading books too much. However, I have used it everyday since I bought it, back in August 2010. It was a birthday present to me. I did a lot of research and decided on an Aluratek brand as I did not want to be chained to just one format and I did not want a big one. This one is smaller than a paperback book and will fit anywhere. I love it for all of the books that I can take with me wherever I go and that I have another one available when I finish a book unexpectedly. I am forever prepared! I have never been embarrassed by the covers, but I do agree that some of the covers and titles have a lot to be desired.
Sarah Stern
37. hexose
I got my first ereader because I was going to school online and didn't want to have to read all my text books from my computer screen. I love it now because I can take like 10 library books with me AND still have room in my bag for my wallet and not bend over from carrying do many books. Mostly just love the convenience and accessibility of being able to read from any of near 150 books that I currently have on it. I don't have to plan in advance what books I might want to read 10 hours from now, I ca take a selection and choose then!
38. ColleenK
I love my e-reader apps and my nook for a few reasons. # 1 is that I always have something to read. # 2 is that my children don't see the cover of my more adult books. # 3 is I don't have to hunt down my next obsession on release day, I just download and go. And last # 4 I don't have to find more space and fight with my husband about all of my books.
39. Alonzi
It's hard to criticize my teenage son for buying a girly mag when my romance novel has a naked male torso on the cover. I would gladly do away with the naked book covers. But if a book cover 'matches' the storyline well, having a visual definitely makes the novel more enjoyable for me. The e-book market don't seem to care about the cover art. My fear is that we'll end up with Ellora's Cave types of covers, with all the bare skin and none of the artistry that I enjoy.
40. wendydnv
I, too, have an ereader. A friend asked me how I could give up REAL books and I was flabbergasted! I read hardbacks, paperbacks and efiles and they are all wonderful. (My husband loves that the over 400 books I have in efile are NOT cluttering up the bedroom) The cover issue is silly. It's like having to make excuses for your choice of food or clothing for the day. A cover is 1% of a book's appeal. Those who judge by the cover are often disappointed when their assumptions prove abysmally incorrect. Of course, the fact that 75% of recent (paranormal) romance covers seem to have the same male model is a disappointment to me. He's nice to look at, but come on! A bit of variety would be fabu. The content is the pertinent thing. And if someone judges you by the cover of the book you are reading, well, pooh on them. Makes it easier for you to figure out if you want to continue to converse with them. ( I vote not) . Addressing the "wee eyes" issue: wee eyes don't have the database an adult does to interpret those covers, so fear not. They are probably looking at the pretty colors. And wondering if there are dinosaurs in the book. I love the travel worthy aspect of my ereader as well. I loaded 13 books on before my vacation and knowing that those few ounces held the equivalent of 10 lbs was wonderful and left me room for souvenirs. Long live books in all forms, even with the tacky covers!
johnny king
41. vampire100100
if you ever had to move you would never ask that question.but now if my house caugh on fire my kindle would be the first thing that would be picked up and goes with me. everthing else be damned.
42. Ayshara
I have a Kobo Touch and love it because I can store so many books on it. When push comes to shove, would you rather have a full e-reader or a bag full of books?

My Touch has an 8gb external card and I haven't even gotten close to filling it!
43. smfsprout
I resisted getting an e-reader because I love the feel of the book in my hand. Having said that, it is just so easy to download numerous books on my Nook and take it with me anywhere. It ensures I never run out of reading material and have to resort to reading product packages and cereal boxes. :)
romance reader
44. bookstorecat
I love my nook because reading and responding to blogs and web articles is so much easier now.

45. Shark with Lasers
I like my ereader because I can have the book in my hands just moments after realizing I wanted it, and it will usually cost me a little less than the paper copy would have. There's also some material I want to read that just isn't available in paper copy at all, and I'm not just talking about erotica. Project Gutenberg in handheld form? Heck yeah!

I'm still not taking my ereader in the tub with me though. Paper books only for the bubble bath.
46. Shark with Lasers
As to the covers, there have been some absolutely wonderful covers out there lately. I love Shannon Stacey's covers, and Jennifer Crusie's, and Lani Diane Rich's. There have been a lot of gorgeous steampunk covers too. I like that my little Kobo lets me use the book cover of my most recent read as a screen saver. I don't think I'd appreciate not having that feature in an ereader.
47. Mechanic
It's not shame that makes me glad my children and the children in my daughters girl scout troops(I read during the meetings when they don't need me) can not see the covers on some of my books! Some of the covers are very graphic and depict scenes that I wouldn't want anyone's children to see. That is NOT however the reason I bought my kindle. I bought it because my bookstore closed. The nearest one now is about 30 minutes away.
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