Thursday, March 26, 2009


I posted a comment on Trevor's blog about 2 minutes ago. I was impressed by how insightful it was so I thought I'd link to it. Then I considered reprinting the whole thing here
We use books to construct our identities but mostly as a signaling device to increase our status.

Kindle gives gadget status, but not so much culture status. the very fact that books take up lots of space is a big reason why people like them. it shoves your smartness and sophistication into visitors faces.

you can't just keep talking about books you have on your kindle, you'd sound liek a pretentious ass.

For an enjoyable few seconds I contemplated my choices while skimming posts in my Google Reader when I came across this
I've been following your Kindle posts for a while now and something that struck me is the signalling effects of reading a book versus a reading using a Kindle - yes I read Robin Hanson's blog too!

Reading with a Kindle, the signal is relatively constant and, at the moment, is something like "I'm an early technology adopter and I like to read". As the Kindle gets more commonplace the efficacy of this signal will, I think, diminish. Compare this with the signalling effects of reading a traditional book, where you signal to people not only that you like to read, but crucially what you are reading.

I wonder if Kindle advocates are underestimating how important it is for people to show those around them not just that they like to read, but also what they like to read?
That's a loyal Marginal Revolution reader.

I swear! I wrote my comment before I read that!

Oh and look how smart I am.

1 comment:

GT said...

This is undoubtedly true. I'd be a lot less enthusiastic about my book collection if it were hidden.