By Maura Kelly and Teddy Wayne


You're a young woman riding the subway in New York City, reading Candace Bushnell or Sophie Kinsella.  The back panel of your e-reader is its default setting-gun-metal gray. A cute, nerdy guy in Elvis Costello glasses and olive-drab clothing sits down across from you. He's getting ready for his English Literature doctoral exams at Columbia-he must be, because he's reading a dog-eared paperback of "The Fairie Queene" without embarrassment. You like him. e-back® can help. Press the lizard icon at the bottom of your screen and choose instantly from thousands of back-panel displays. And just like that, you're no longer a chick-lit bird-brain but an alienated Thomas Pynchon fan re-reading "Gravity's Rainbow." And yes, you would love to attend an  indie-rock concert by a band that uses staplers as percussion instruments with him tonight.


You're lazing away your Sunday with your e-reader and Michael Crichton's posthumously published "Pirate Latitudes" when your wife yells at you for not taking out the trash. Turn on your e-back®'s "marriage-saver" function, go into the kitchen, and say, "Honey, I'm listening to your needs." Make sure she gets an "accidental" look at the back-panel display of what you're (not) reading: "How To Be a Better Husband To Your Gorgeous, Brilliant Wife." So what if there's no such book? 


Hey, thirteen-year-old boy-yes, you, the one who thought no one was around. What's so tantalizing that it's got your eyeballs popping out of your head as you hunch over your e-reader? Let's get a closer look, shall we? ...Oh, never mind, we see the cover: "Advanced Algebra II." That's right, Johnny; mathematics can be so exciting that it puts you in a quiver. Keep studying, young Einstein.  Ah-you want to lock the door so that you can concentrate?


Might you be an unmarried forty-something woman? Sitting alone, as usual, at the local cafe, you're learning "How To Take Care of Your 14 Cats" over a cup of chai when you recognize what a cultural cliche you appear to be. e-back®ize your reader: "A Literate Passion: The Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller." Now you're a mysterious older woman! For enhanced effect, tuck your "Kathy" cartoon sweatshirt into that National Costco Shoppers' 2004 Speed-Dating Convention tote bag and put it under your chair, where no one can see it. (FYI: Soon, you'll never have to worry about your dumpy bag again: The new e-back® tote, coming next spring, with faux-canvas displays, will have hundreds of logos to choose from.)


The e-reader e-back®: For when you're unable, or ashamed, to show others what you're really reading.


Maura Kelly writes a dating blog for Marie Claire and is working on a novel. Teddy Wayne's debut novel, Kapitoil, will be published by Harper Perennial this April.


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