12 E-Books You’d Be Embarrassed to Read in Print Book Form

The mommy porn classic “Fifty Shades of Grey’’ is the reigning champion of the too-embarrassed-to-read-in-public genre: it is the first e-book to sell over one million Kindle copies, and its e-book sales outpaced its print sales sixfold. Here are some other e-books you might gift to those who read with equal parts excitement and embarrassment.

Why Am I Conservative? by Melanie Angell Elliott

When raising a conservative child while drowning in a blue sea of judgy liberal friends.

All the Vexin Classics books

A classic story needs a classic cover, but not quite this classic. The Vexin edition of Pride and Prejudice, for instance, is sure to embarrass you, and is thankfully only available via Kindle.


Elvis for Dummies by Susan Doll

You love Elvis.

Ella and Micha series by Jessica Sorensen

Jessica Sorensen is a New York Times bestseller. With a stamp of approval like that, who wouldn’t want to read these riveting tales of rocky marriages, punctuated by an occasional pre-written sex scene? Just hide the cover.

You on a Diet by Mehmet Oz

You secretly want to know what the latest health diet fad is, but you’re ashamed to be getting your fix from the once-reputable surgeon turned daytime television-phony Dr. Oz. So get the Kindle edition!

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

So you want to know why Mitt Romney and a host of other politicians-cum-businessmen are so into Ms. Rand? So you’re a little curious about the uncomfortable sex scenes? Read the e-book!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

You are years late to the game, but want to catch up on Mockingjay before you go see the movie (part 1)? Get it on your e-reader, and avoid shaming from teen fantasy purists as well as literary snobs.

Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker

Here’s a serious one. Whitaker doesn’t address the sexual assault allegations in his book, and that surely weighs on him, as it does for all of us who loved Cosby as Heathcliff Huxtable. How should we handle Cosby’s legacy, and the legacy of The Cosby Show? You might not want to read Whitaker’s biography in hardcover with his face gracing the front flap, but you can ponder these questions quietly on your e-reader.


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

Don’t scandalize the grandmas on the subway by reading this fantastic Mary Roach book. Even though she covers the nasty fearlessly and deftly, you might just want to hide the cover.

The Inferno by Dan Brown

Here’s the bestseller that you’re only reading because you read “The Da Vinci Code’’ in 2006, when e-readers weren’t really a thing. Now they are, so read away, unjudged, this book that reviews call “Hollywood-grade’’ with a “predictably large number of chase scenes.’’

Fart Proudly by Benjamin Franklin, ed. Carl Japikse

The book is a reputable collection of lesser known, more irreverant essays by Benjamin Franklin. But with a title like that, you might not want to read it proudly in public.

Porno by Irvine Welsh

Judge a book by its cover. The events of this Scottish novel plays out across — you guessed it — the pornography business.

Jump To Comments