If you are a frequent or even infrequent reader of the Longo Review blog you may have noticed that it has gone through a general face lift. As of this month the tempo of new articles and comments on this website should increase considerably.
I hope you like the new look and continue to come back for more comments on books and ebooks.
Ever since Apple’s iPad was introduced last month everyone has started writing about how magazines and books should now have embedded videos and animations. The more I’ve given thought to that I keep getting to the same question: Why?
While I can understand the desire to have user controlled animation in the advertising of a car, so that the user can swivel it around and see what it looks like from all sides, I could not see why I would want anything of the sort in a book. In non-fiction titles you could add interactive charts, which could prove to be interesting and even animations for the explanations of something like physics.
Now, with the concession that some books could benefit from having embedded animations, we can turn to the next question: How are these animations going to get done? I mean, I don’t really know any authors, even physicist authors are not high on my list of promising graphic artists.
If these kinds of illustrations are to become mainstream authors are going to need specialized tools and then you have to consider if you really would like to live in a Harry Potter kind of world where all the illustrations in your book are animated.
If while authors don’t have specialized tools for creation the animations they would like to have in their books, perhaps publishers could hire special graphic artists that are up to the challenge of handcrafting these books for new devices such as the iPad. While this cannot be considered a bad move it will increase the product cost of each title. Higher costs, generally translate into higher consumer prices which I’m pretty sure is the exact opposite that the consumers want and expect of ebooks.
On the fiction side of things, the equation is a lot simpler. I buy a fiction book to read it. While I might find entertaining to browse a couple of illustrations, they certainly would not be determinant to my buying decision. I might skip reading altogether and go for an audiobook, but I certainly wouldn’t trade reading a book for watching a video.
Oh, wait! Videos! What a great idea! Our reading devices now support video, why don’t we make a video of each book?! Wait! Someone already thought of that! They are called movies….
I love my traditional, paper, books as much as any other book lover does. Holding a reading device while sitting in a confortable armchair doesn’t really equal sitting in the same chair with a nice, original, book in your hands…
But… Let’s get real about it… We’re in a changing world. There are too many of us, placing too much strain on our environment. Our climate is changing and it doesn’t seem to be for the better. Can we really justify the continued use of paper books when they are not necessary?
Over the past four years I must have purchased somewhere around twenty paperback or hardcover books. During the same period, I have certainly aquired more than one hundred and fifty eBooks and some ten audiobooks. While the overall phisical experiece might be different, my enjoyment of the works themselves was not diminshed at all. In this last month alone I read over ten eBooks and listned to six audiobooks.
If you haven’t yet started to make the move to electronic, you should try it. Do your little bit to help reduce climate change by reading in electronic books, using a low power device such as a Kindle, a Sony Reader or on your iPod or iPhone.
One of the first things I did after I got an iPod Touch was to install eReader on it. Actually, it might have been the first application I installed, though I can’t be totally sure.
I have been reading books electronically for a long time as I have always been a big believer that this is the inevitable future of books. I’ve read a lot of books on my PocketPC and on notebooks and now that I’ve got some on the iPod I feel we are getting closer to what I used to envision for this technology back in 1997.
Back then I set out to create both an ebook reading and a creation software. I was certain that the future was all about buying books on the Internet and immediatelly downloading them to your reading device. As these devices were not immediatelly available I was writing a PC version of what I though the device should do. It was a lot of fun, even though it didn’t really go anywhere as we were not able to raise capital to really startup the busines.
Still, this early experience, and the fact that I just “believed” that this was the future, made me follow advances in this area closely and made an early adopter out of me. Through these years I’ve always maintained that what was really needed was a device that was light and thin, but that still had a big enough screen to be confortable to hold and read.
The Kindle DX is a step in the right direction, as far as screen sizes go, but it is also a step in the wrong direction in respect to price and functionality. If I am going to carry a device of tha size around and pay that much for it, I expect it to do a lot more than allow me to read.
The iPhone and the iPod Touch are a step in the right direction in regards to the functionality of the device and even in regards to price, but still have a small screen. Now, if Apple only released a Kindle sized device with the capabilities of the iPod Touch we would be just about where we need to be get the masses to really take to reading electronic editions.