As Prospero puts it:
Rather, I'm intrigued by the notion that e-readers make reading less antisocial. Doesn't reading necessitate not socialising? Indeed, isn't that part of the appeal?Exactly. Having strangers bug me about my e-book reader while I'm trying to read is the last thing I want to have happen to me. I much prefer being thought of as a nerd.
I was always under the impression that books served a dual purpose: not only do they offer a world to enter, but also they offer an affordable means of escape from the world we're in. What a nice cloak a book can be on the subway or the train, or while sitting at a bar, enjoying the buzz of humanity while absorbed in something else. I'm reminded of Anne Tyler's "The Accidental Tourist", in which books are recommended as props for travellers who would rather avoid idle chatter with strangers.