Revisiting Books

On my 1-hour flight home yesterday, I used Instapaper Pro to go back and read a web essay from last month by Craig Mod (and type this post in the WordPress app). The essay is called Books in the Age of the iPad.

It seemed important to revisit the article now that I have an iPad and to see if I read the ideas any differently. Two quotes stand out:

When people lament the loss of the printed book [what are] they talking about. My eyes tire more easily, they say. The batteries run out, the screen is tough to read in sunlight. It doesn’t like bath tubs.

and

In printed books, the two-page spread was our canvas. It’s easy to think similarly about the iPad. Let’s not.

This raises two concepts. The reading of print material in the digital format and how the digital for at could look in the future. I read a lot of digital material, but have not ever read an entire novel or book digitally. Portions yes, but not the whole thing. I have loaded on my iPad, You Are Not as Gadget, that I hope to read soon. I’m intrigued and not fearful of digital novels and non-fiction.

I’ve had the iPad almost a week. I’ve done some reading of long pieces. Most of it is fairly traditional in nature. Read, “turn” the page, read some more. Much like the book reading experience. That’s all good.

I like the second concept that Mod presents in his essay. The idea to repurpose and reconceptualize the medium, and even to allow and build value for the print medium too. The ipad does not change anything yet, at least not with its ibook app. It is a nice interface, but it does take what we know and simply make it digital (with some minor tweaks). I look forward to what other producers and artists can create.

I encourage you to read Mod’s piece and reflect. What kind of reading experience do you value? I always thought we’d keep the paperback because it’s cheap and disposable but maybe that content is better suited for the digital environment? For librarians, we’ve already seen this transition for magazine content. Does the iPad pushes further into the digital?