Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Yorker on the iPad

Allen Kupetz and I have been discussing Ken Auletta's article in the latest New Yorker. The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books: newyorker.com

The thing I find most interesting about the article are the publisher plans to use the iPad to add multimedia to books. I have always thought this was bound to happen when we went digital and will ultimately lead to the overwhelming of text by multimedia, which in turn will lead to a counter trend in which some, smaller publishers, return to a "purer" form of the book dominated by text (probably in both print codex and digital forms.) That counter trend will be smaller, and thus we find ourselves ultimately (as much as there is any 'ultimate' when it come to information storage and distribution) in a situation in which, what we would recognize today as a book, occupies a far smaller place in our information economy and culture than it does at the moment, something akin to poetry today.

3 comments:

Bill said...

What most concerns me is the platform dependence of electronic books at this point. Without a widely-used, lasting standard, electronic texts will be far less enduring than printed books, and the more features they add the more difficult they'll be to access in the future.

Jonathan Miller said...

I agree, it took us fifty, maybe 200 years to achieve that standard with the printed book. I hope it won't take so long with e-books.

Bryan's workshop blog said...

Sharing Bill's concern.

Multimedia: in a sense we're talking about adding *more* multimedia to texts, which are sometimes already combinations of text with other media. William Blake, comics, illuminated books, etc.

I wonder, now, about authoring tools. When will we not have to be Penguin in order to create this kind of content?