Mr. Merkoski has some interesting ideas. I'm not very enthusiastic about them. A plug-in to the author's head? A meta book with links? Wouldn't that feel like reading a dictionary? Books, for the most part, have been written by one person with a personal point of view. I enjoy meeting these individuals on the pages they write and think a hyperlinked book to book approach would destroy that intimacy I enjoy.
I look back to the steam engine. Its original design was for ships but the breakthrough technology was the locomotive. I think we are in the midst of a similar "reading revolution" and nobody really knows what the outcome will be. I will say that, unlike steam technology, writing and reading have a certain aesthetic quality and any change that breaks that bond will be unsuccessful.
Some of the ideas are a little outlandish or a "who would want that in a book?" kind of ideas.
But a more easily accessible intertextural and reference web would be nice. Being able to access annotations, definitions, references, further reading could be made more seamless. It's already kind of there in web enabled devices, but making it an easy, seamless experience of exploring a book in depth, to the depth the reader wishes, would be a great step.
Example: Reading a PD copy of Les Miserables right now. I'm pretty literate and historically knowledgeable, but even I'm having to look up
somemany of the historical and literary references. This can be a little time consuming the way things are currently structured.
Sure, there are annotated editions out there. But the ability to toggle on/off the annotated format would be nice. All those superscripts in a B&N classic can be distracting when I don't need to dig that deep. But, sometimes I want to dig deeper than the simple footnote. Maybe I want to get an encyclopedia-style entry on that info. Maybe I want a link to a whole book on the subject. Or a video from an expert discussing the idea, etc. The possibilities are varied.
Another idea, based on my example text, would be the ability to toggle between original language text and translation, or display them side by side. My French is OK, but not quite enough to tackle Hugo in the original without some reference.
I don't want to see the trad idea of a "book" go away for some sort of default multi-media "experience." But the option to dig deeper and quickly cross reference or pursue themes or topics seems like it has potential.
Good points. I've read some B&N classics and have found the footnotes to be either glaringly obvious or inadequate. I guess what seemed disconcerting to me was a work of fiction that may reference other works of fiction so in essence one would be creating a personal narrative far from the intent of the original author. Les Miserables is a great book! Are you reading the condensed version or the original?
Sounds like a good way to lose real readers.
If ebooks stop replicating DTBs, I'll go back to buying DTBs. I ONLY read ebooks because of the convenience of being able to carry a large library with me all the time, and to not have to have all those books in the house. More bells and whistles does not equal better. In this case, it equals worse.
This article also states "Distribution costs are zero." Um, last I checked, bandwidth, server farms, and electricity weren't free.
Gotta love this comment that was left on that posting. Methinks a number of folks here could use it in their signatures:
In conclusion, I'm a genius and everyone is stupid and if everyone did what I said then they would all be happier but no one does because they're stupid and I'm just left here, being a genius alone.
Maybe I should put it in mine.