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Books, e-reader, tablet computers

Redefining the book experience

We all love physical books. Paper books (p-books) are ingrained in our psyche, imprinted there by an educational system based on that model. However, observe your grandchild using an iPad and you will see, to quote Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are A-Changing.”

Books, in general, are more in demand now, probably a result of their widespread and low-cost availability. Much of that popularity is credited to the e-book experience. Amazon recently reported they are selling 115 e-books for every 100 p-books. The decline in popularity of physical books is real and accelerating.

The Nook and Kindle e-readers are popular because they mimic the printed page with glare-free, e-ink that makes reading easier on the eyes. However their real popularity is often credited to the ease of buying new books (downloaded in 60 seconds or less). With some models storing as many as 3,500 books, it’s easy to tote around your entire e-book library and then increase your cache with a quick download.

But, these e-readers just mimic the p-book experience. Text and only text is the experience of many e-books. Photos are scarce with only the color e-ink reader displaying vibrant images. Videos are generally out of the question.

Redefinition of the book is largely taking place on the multi-purpose e-reader. Tablet computers offer large color screens with gorgeous photo and video renditions. So, redefining the book concentrates on using text as a backbone with many divergent paths leading to color photos, videos, graphs, and slideshow adventures. Reading an enhanced e-book is an experience that leads to multiple paths that are rarely the same.

Our granddaughters love their iPad for the illustrated children’s books that moo and whinny with the tap of a finger. Some of our youngest granddaughter’s first books are on the iPad where she is learning to read. Just tap a word to hear it vocalized. She sits mesmerized by the iPad, although she stills loves to read those pop-up print books with mommy. The girls watch iPad children’s videos for hours, causing their parents to limit its use, much as our mothers limited our TV time.

Innovations on the e-book have flourished but the underlying theme is still rooted in the format of the printed book. There is one such innovation that is changing the format and redefining the book in a big way.

Push Pop Press recently released a rework of Vice-President Al Gore’s book “Our Choice.” The San Francisco startup, developed by two former Apple Computer employees, has transformed Mr. Gore’s book into an IOS App (application for iPad or iPhone).

As Mr. Gore puts it, his 2006 book “An Inconvenient Truth” was 90 percent about the climate crisis problem, and only 10 percent about solutions. “Our Choice” swaps that ratio, presenting a horde of solutions to well-defined problems.

Graphic images are important to Mr. Gore’s book and dominate in every way. Text is interspersed between and around photos with graphs and informative videos making their point. One color illustration invites the reader to blow into the iPad microphone to make a windmill rotate and electric transmission lines light up with action. Other photos use Al Gore’s deep resonate voice to make a point.

This e-book makes major use of an index along the bottom of the screen. Everything starts with the reader choosing from the index by touching to expand chapters and fill the screen with text and color video. Readers are encouraged, almost demanded, to skip around the lengthy book with a simple touch to the screen index.

So, Push Pop Press would have you believe that future e-books will be apps instead of simple computer text files. Their direction is one which allows, and even demands, future updates of the app book. Changing the book content with a new app release, in their opinion, will provide current substance updates, lengthen the commercial life of the book, and make the reader want to revisit frequently.

I find the thought of a book changing its content a foreign and repulsive idea. My internal filing structure (memory) is filled with love and memories of books as static entities. I cast meanings on book titles which, in turn, formulate my world view. Heck, having a book as a changing experience would certainly muss up my filing structure — one that my wife says is mussed up enough already.


About Pamlico Writers Group

This is a publication of the Pamlico Writers Group, created to help promote and advance writers skills along with expanding our groups membership and reach. Our aim on this site is to keep you our readers and participants aware of upcoming events. Topics covered during the year will be news regarding our annual Pamlico Writers Conference and Competition, co-sponsored with Arts of the Pamlico, discussion of and from our conferences, participants and group news. PWG's Steering Committee has finalized details for our 5th Annual Pamlico Writers Conference on March 17 & 18th, 2017 at The Turnage Theatre, 150 W. Main St., Washington, NC. This year's theme is "Words," Image and Story". Our Friday night keynote speaker this year will be Author, Teacher, Speaker, and Director of Lavenson Studios, Zelda Lockhart. For more information on Ms. Lockhart visit her website at: http://www.zeldalockhart.com/. For a complete schedule of Friday night and Saturday events, go to our website at: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Be sure to check back often for more details of this and other events we have planned. The companion juried writing competition submissions opened on January 1, 2017. Winners are announced and an awards ceremony will be held during our Friday night Kick-Off Event. If you'd like more information on guidelines for entries, please go to our website: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/ All registrations for both conference and/or entry into the competition will be made through our web site: https://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildapricot.org/. Again, see site for complete details. Thank you for visiting! We hope to see you again soon. **If you are a writer interested in finding a critique group or other writers, we encourage you to come and join us. If you life at a distance please don't let that diswade you, we have several members who participate predominately on-line. Our meetings are the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 pm here in Washington, NC at the Turnage Theatre. We would love to hear from you regarding comments or ideas you have for the group. This blog is authored by members of our writer's group. Thank you for stopping by. See you soon, Kaylene Wilson Program Coordinator


One thought on “Redefining the book experience

  1. I remember when paperbacks took off when I was in junior high and how excited I was when you could buy quality fiction at a reduced price. And I remember how excited I was was when I got my Nook and later on my Kindle and how I read even more ebooks than I did paperbacks. I speed through books counting down the percentage of the book I’m currently reading and wondering what book I will read next. Also I love being able to adjust upward the size of the type as wet macular degeneration has taken away the sight in my best eye.

    Posted by Tom Spencer | December 27, 2012, 6:39 pm

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