Having said in my guest post on Sierra's blog that I don't read much about e-books because they just ain't my problem yet (which is true), I have to admit to the one exception to my lack of interest: my real life experiences.
To the point: as many of you know from my frequent bitching and moaning, Lt. commutes by Metro each day, and for months I've had the wacky idea of keeping a totally non-scientific tally of how many paper books vs. e-books I see people reading on the train.
What would this tell me? Probably nothing. Why don't I do it? Well, see answer to first question...plus, it'd be a lot of work because I'd need to think about it and write down what I saw each day, rather than just totally zoning out or fantasizing about pounding the shit out of my fellow passengers or whatever it is I might otherwise do. (Which does not include reading because, as I've mentioned before, the Lt. gets incredibly motion-sick if he tries to read, especially on a transportation system as herky-jerky as the Metro.) But the idea doesn't go away.
Of course I would have to exclude Bibles or overtly religious stuff, and I see people reading that stuff with surprising regularity. Perhaps people hope that such material will give them the spiritual and moral strength necessary to survive their crappy commute - I don't blame them. Might also have to exclude the folks who read management textbooks and other school type stuff on the train, though I admire their work ethic.
I also thought about this while we were on vacation last week. As you might expect, most people out by the pool or on the beach read paper books (and man, what a bountiful cornucopia of shitty authors were represented!), but I did see a couple of e-readers. (However, I probably saw more laptops than e-readers, and not more than three of each. And yes, my wife and I rolled our eyes at the people with laptops, until I considered perhaps they were using the time to write a novel. Then I made a nasty face at them. And no, I didn't see anyone stupid enough to have their laptop with them on the beach. But I saw one at the pool and a few inside the hotel.)
On another note, the only things I'll say about Philip Roth and the Man Booker: I like Roth but I'm by no means a huge fan. Three judges was a bad idea - there should have been a panel. The judge who resigned had what I consider a clear conflict of interest and never should have been asked to judge a field that included Roth. I know publishing is a relatively small world, but the people who set this thing up should have taken more care. Here's a piece on the situation I more or less agree with, though again - I think the real problem here is that the people who chose the judges did a poor job in only selecting three people, and not vetting for conflicts of interest.