What exciting times we live in for books and publishing in terms of all the stimulating technology out there! I have embraced Kindle for both MacBooks,iPhone, iPad, have ibooks, iBookcreator and a blurb account.
As a passionate reader I buy well over $2000 a year on books(print) and I haven’t even stopped to add up the ebook purchases which started years ago with my first iPhone and have rapidly increased lately. I love the fact that if I hear about a new book through other readers and writers via twitter, facebook or websites that I can simply download it and have it in a matter of minutes to begin reading it, sharing my progress, rating and review of it just as quickly. Instant gratification is the curse of Gen X and Y.
Having said that I still prefer the feel and look of a book for the full sensory experience of touching the pages, flipping and yes, even smelling old books and the aesthetic appeal of beautiful covers. So, often, if it’s a special book of one of my favourite authors I will buy both the ebook for immediate gratification and then the paperback for practicality of beach reads (though I have read from iPhone at the beach too) and then the hardback for collector’s editions to have and to hold and look at lovingly! Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts is one such book I have in the three formats. Yes, really. Somewhere between the two generations I have equal lust for print and digital books, though I prefer to read more nonfiction electronically. I guess I romanticise fiction and tend to read longer literary novels in the old fashioned way with a book in bed.
I think fiction, if well written, doesn’t need graphics as the reader creates meaning and pictures in their own head based on the information given by the writer. The Alice in Wonderland app for Ipad was dynamic and exciting and I can see the appeal but I don’t remember needing help to stay engaged when reading that as a child! However after seeing Al Gore’s ebook ‘Our Choice” I promptly downloaded it. For me ebooks work better with nonfiction, ie, cookbooks, craft, instructional texts with video and interactive audio-visual elements embedded.
As a teacher I use digital storytelling programs such as Photo Story, Storybird, Animoto and ACMI storyboard generator to engage students and explore narrative structures. They find using technology exciting, stimulating and engaging and digital storytelling and ebooks is one way to engage a new generation with text. The reality is that many of my students do not have books at home but all have a smartphone and often an ipad as well. Most do not read anything other than facebook statuses and text messages so we need apps, gadgets and games to introduce them to longer texts. Only a handful of students have ebooks but are curious and keen to lessen their backpack load, particularly with regard to textbooks.
I love the new viewa and scan apps that allow for further exploration of magazine and museum content and allow for purchases as is possible at some store windows now but I still love browsing through bookstores and stores in general to touch, feel and smell the wares and interact with staff before I buy.
What does this mean for the publishing industry and writers of the future I’m not entirely sure but the fact that anyone can self publish quality books, emerging writers can use the technology available to build a platform and get noticed has got to be a good thing for society and artists in general, yes?
Have a look at these innovations. What do you think?