Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Newsweek: Books aren't dead

Steven Levy (one of my favorite technology writers) has written a superb cover article in this week’s Newsweek. Ostensibly, it’s about Amazon’s new e-book device the Kindle, but mostly it’s about how book authors, book readers and the book format itself are evolving in this digital age.

It’s an easy, but provocative read, filled with fun facts and fascinating information about books and reading. For me, it was a totally ludic reading** experience.

The Future of Reading

"Technology," computer pioneer Alan Kay once said, "is anything that was invented after you were born." So it's not surprising, when making mental lists of the most whiz-bangy technological creations in our lives, that we may overlook an object that is superbly designed, wickedly functional, infinitely useful and beloved more passionately than any gadget in a Best Buy: the book. It is a more reliable storage device than a hard disk drive, and it sports a killer user interface. (No instruction manual or "For Dummies" guide needed.) And, it is instant-on and requires no batteries. Many people think it is so perfect an invention that it can't be improved upon, and react with indignation at any implication to the contrary.

"The book," says Jeff Bezos, 43, the CEO of Internet commerce giant, "just turns out to be an incredible device." (Link to full article.)
** In 1988 Victor Nell coined the term “ludic reading” for the “trance-like state that heavy readers enter when consuming books for pleasure.”

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