California cafes unplug wi-fi, ban laptops and iPads

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Enjoy reading in coffee shops? Better bring your print book if you are in California.

Just as Starbucks is beginning to offer free Wi-Fi, some cafes in California are unplugging theirs. Wanting to make their cafes more social and to keep traffic moving, some cafes are getting rid of Wi-Fi all together or relegating it to weekday hours.

This even extends to Kindles and iPads in some cafes, challenging the idea of reading a book in these places. The LA Times reports: “Cafe owners have tried a variety of tactics to foil Wi-Fi squatters. They put out signs that ask laptop users to share tables or point them to nearby Wi-Fi hot spots such as public libraries. They hand out wireless passwords that expire in an hour. They cover electrical outlets (less effective now that customers come armed with laptops sporting longer battery lives or with spare batteries). Computer bans extend to iPads and even Kindles and other e-readers, although paper books and other reading materials are still embraced.”

It makes sense to ban laptop working in cafes, but banning people from reading just because they choose eBooks over print?

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