6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 11, 2013 2:34 PM by Doug_Pardee

    The future & past of ebooks

    RHWright

      Interesting "review" of a new book (I realize paidcontent.org is more a marketing tool than an independent site):

       

      http://paidcontent.org/2013/04/09/book-review-former-kindle-exec-on-kindle-flaws-nook-strengths-and-googles-future-in-ebooks/

       

      Anyone read it?

       

      There's also and excerpt here:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/burning-the-page-_n_3044791.html?utm_hp_ref=books

       

      Though Sourcebooks and a Google search say it's available on B&N, the system can't seem to find that page right now. (Well, guess there's another one for my Kindle app.)

       

      So, thoughts?

        • Re: The future & past of ebooks
          gobasso

          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.

            • Re: The future & past of ebooks
              RHWright

              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 some many 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.

                • Re: The future & past of ebooks
                  gobasso
                  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?