Thursday, October 1, 2009

Is It Reading or Is It Degradation?

Link to September 30 New York Times article, "Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included".

Excerpt: For more than 500 years the book has been a remarkably stable entity: a coherent string of connected words, printed on paper and bound between covers.

But in the age of the iPhone, Kindle and YouTube, the notion of the book is becoming increasingly elastic as publishers mash together text, video and Web features in a scramble to keep readers interested in an archaic form of entertainment.

On Thursday, for instance, Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King, is working with a multimedia partner to release four “vooks,” which intersperse videos throughout electronic text that can be read — and viewed — online or on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Some publishers say this kind of multimedia hybrid is necessary to lure modern readers who crave something different. But reading experts question whether fiddling with the parameters of books ultimately degrades the act of reading.

Let's see. Videos interspersed with text. Reading and then watching a video for context or amplification. Gee, sounds like the way I use the Internet. Does this somehow degrade me?

People, some of you haven't read this article yet. And you've had 12 years, for criminy sakes.

No comments: