The Rise of eReaders and the Decline of "Badging"

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 4:13pm.
Kate Meersschaert's picture

kobo-vox-ereader-tablet

Image from http://www.the-digital-reader.com

My Book is bigger than yours...
How many of you felt pride carrying-around your giant organic chemistry textbook or exploring macroeconomics at the local coffee shop? Fast-forward beyond college and you are commuting on the subway, furtively trying to hide your copy of Twilight. Are you aware of the message what you are reading is sending?

Rise of machines... for reading.
As this recent PEW Research Center study points-out, eReadership is on the rise. These portable devices are now in 21% of American adult's hands. While the device becomes more ubiquitous the ability to "badge" yourself based on what you are reading is becoming obsolete. This recent Economist blog post from Emma Garner's "Lean-back 2.0" column explores this "badge effect" more fully and was the inspiration for this post.

Signaling...
What we read does send signals to those around us about our interests, profession and who we aspire to be. How does this change in the era of the monochromatic, subtly branded tablet? How is this "badge effect" that Gardner explores lost for students who move to a tablet? Does this matter? How is "badging" a part of traditional academic culture? How else do we use this concept? Discussion boards? MOOCs?



Laura Costello's picture
Laura Costello Says:
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 5:25pm

I think the effect will be even more interesting in the post-dedicated-reader era. As long as you're swiping regularly on a tablet or phone, nobody can really tell if you're reading Proust or playing Fruit Ninja. I'm fine with the ambiguity, I think it's part of a cultural shift away from format snobbery.


Fred Rossoff's picture
Fred Rossoff Says:
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 5:03pm

In fourth grade, because I said I had already read the children's Homer, I got to read the real one in a huge volume while everyone else read that one. But excelling at "reading" is always a mixture of pride and shame in America. Now I'm glad that with my kindle people can't see what I'm reading.


Kate Meersschaert's picture
Kate Meersschaert Says:
Wed, 04/11/2012 - 4:34pm

New development in the world of eReaders... The US Justice dept. is suing apple & other major publishers for "colluding to raise the price of e-books in 2010." Read more in this NYTs article.