Monday, May 3, 2010

I have seen the future of reading

I have seen the future of reading, and it's awesome. I am a total gadget geek and I had to have the new iPad. WiFi only connection wasn't good enough for me, so I pre-ordered the 3G model and it arrived yesterday. One word. AWESOME

Yes, I know, it doesn't do everything a netbook does, but I don't care, I have a laptop for those tasks. What it does do well is surf the web, run cool apps, show stunning slideshows, amazing videos, and lots of other things.

One of those other things, is display books. It's large color screen makes it great for displaying very detailed renderings of the text of the book, but it can also display crisp images. If you think about the printing costs of sharp color images in a typical book, the costs are prohibitive, while including them in an ebook only costs a few megabytes.

I'm not saying that every book needs, or even wants to have high resolution color images, but I can imagine that even including a few as needed, could be an incredible advantage over a printed book. For instance wouldn't it be great if you could include a detailed map of your world? How about one that's interactive so that users could explore it as they are reading the story?

I realize that like any new technology, it can be taken too far. Remember when word processors first came out and you could suddenly use a 100 different fonts? (Yes, I am dating myself) Some people did use all the fonts with the disastrous results that the document was unreadable. I see the same thing happening with some of the interactive technology possible in eReaders, but I also see that at some point designers will settle on a style that feels right, one that makes sense, much like happened with documents in Word. Yes, you can use multiple fonts, yes, you can use underlining, bold, and italics, but with a judicious tasteful application, I feel that documents now, are much better than they were 30 years ago, and that's the future of reading. I don't know about you, but I can't wait.

Just for fun, I've thrown in an example of just how far the technology can go. I personally think this is too far, but as with the documents with too many fonts and colors, at some point, the industry will settle on something great.


  1. I thought I didn’t want an iPad – until I saw the video. I think, however, I’d be distracted from reading the book by all the fun graphics.

  2. Alice does look cool and we have an iPad but I don't think I'll ever convert. I like books too much. Reading on a back lit screen is really hard on my eyes and I love writing in the margins too much.

  3. How does the backlit screen feel after long reading sessions?

  4. @Jane exactly my point about the distracting graphics, though little readers might enjoy it

    @Liz aha so it's you that has been writing in my library books... Kidding. I actually like reading off my Kindle more than regular books I don't have to struggle to keep the pages open

    @stu haven't tried a long session yet so I'll have to get back to you

  5. That video is cool. I wouldn't want to read in that fashion, but I think for the kid's lit market ebooks that are interactive would be very engaging.

    I do a lot of reading on my iPod without any eye strain. I'd like an iPad in the future.


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