Sort of a silly question but, would 'per ekranoj' be a more accurate translation? Or can sur also be used for non-locational circumstances? Also, can per be used with nouns such as the sentence above i.e. librojn per ekranoj?
I don't think it's a silly question. I came to the comment section to see if anyone had asked it. Esperanto sentences are a lot more "face value" than English ones, so I would expect "Mi (ne) legas librojn sur ekranoj" to mean either the book is physically on top of the screen or the person is sitting on the screen reading the book.
My sense here is that this is not an "Esperanto problem" but rather a "second language learner problem." For example, when English speakers learn Dutch, they hesitate to speak about the "eyes" of a potato, even though "De ogen van een aardappel" is a perfectly normal expression in Dutch. Second language learners tend to want to take things literally (or as you said - on face value.)
I've been speaking Esperanto a long time. Your interpretation of this sentence did not occur to me. Even after coming back to this thread and pondering other possible interpretations, it didn't occur to me. Now that you've pointed it out, I can see why your mind when there, but I don't think to say that this interpretation is the result of a feature of Esperanto itself.
An alternative which does strike me as plausible is:
- I don't read the kinds of books that are on screens (i.e. ebooks.)
Either way, "I don't read ebooks" - "I don't use screens to read books" - basically the same thing.
Do you ever come back to check replies to your messages? I answered you a week ago.
Edit: Three months later my comment has three downvotes - yet "LLZam" still hasn't come back to read the replies to his comments. In other news, the sound problem has been fixed thanks to the bug reports, and not to the comments in the discussion area.
I don't think I would have understood the sentence that way. "I am reading" suggests "at the moment" and people don't tend to read multiple books at any given moment. Nevertheless, I suspect that if someone felt like reporting something that was marked wrong for using a progressive tense in English rather than a simple tense, then it would be added.