[Asis-l] LA Times > Electronic Reading Devices Are Transforming The Concept Of A Book
gerrymckiernan at live.com
Tue Jul 20 10:54:48 EDT 2010
Digital tools advance beyond screens that talk and play videos, connecting readers to authors and online fan communities.
Alex Pham and David Sarno > Los Angeles Times > July 18, 2010
More than 550 years after Johannes Gutenberg printed 180 copies of the Bible on paper and vellum, new technologies as revolutionary as the printing press are changing the concept of a book and what it means to be literate. Sound, animation and the ability to connect to the Internet have created the notion of a living book that can establish an entirely new kind of relationship with readers.
As electronic reading devices evolve and proliferate, books are increasingly able to talk to readers, quiz them on their grasp of the material, play videos to illustrate a point or connect them with a community of fellow readers. The same technology allows readers to reach out to authors, provide instant reaction and even become creative collaborators, influencing plot developments and the writer's use of dramatic devices.
"There is not a single aspect of book publishing that digital won't touch," said Carolyn KroReidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster. "It is transformational."
Vook (the name is a mash-up of "video" and "book") has published more than two dozen titles, including "Reckless Road," which describes the early days of heavy metal band Guns N' Roses. "Reckless Road" weaves in dozens of videos of the L.A. band's early performances and interviews with band members and groupies.
The videos and other digital features are designed to "project the emotion of the book without getting in the way of the story," said Brad Inman, Vook's chief executive and a former real estate columnist for the San Francisco Examiner. "We want to revive the passion for traditional narrative. Multimedia could be a catalyst for spawning more reading."
Tim O'Reilly, whose O'Reilly Media in Sebastopol, Calif., is at the forefront of designing and distributing digital books over the Internet and on mobile devices, said technology has the power to "broaden our thinking about what a book does."
In addition to displaying pages from a book, digital e-readers can read them aloud, opening up a literary trove for the blind and the visually impaired who have long had only a thin selection of audio and Braille books to choose from. Devices made by Amazon.com Inc. and Intel Corp. are able to convert text into speech.
Digital technology is also transforming reading from a famously solitary experience into a social one.
The newest generation of readers -- the texting, chatting, YouTubing kids for whom the term "offline" sounds quaint -- has run circles around the fusty publishing process, keeping its favorite stories alive online long after they're done reading the books.
"Reading well is like playing the piano or the violin," said the poet and critic Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "It is a high-level cognitive ability that requires long-term practice. I worry that those mechanisms in our culture that used to take a child and have him or her learn more words and more complex syntax are breaking down."
>>> Editorial Comment: IMHO >Noooooo.... It's All About Imagination > Get A Clue ... .
[Yes !!! >] Dr. Gary Small, director of the Center on Aging at UCLA and author of "iBrain," said Internet use activated more parts of the brain than reading a book did.
On the other hand, online readers often demonstrate what Small calls "continuous partial attention" as they click from one link to the next. The risk is that we become mindless ants following endless crumbs of digital data. "People tend to ask whether this is good or bad," he said.
"My response is that the tech train is out of the station, and it's impossible to stop."
Editorial Comment: The 'iBrain' Is Here >>>
BTW: I Am Working On A Major Post On This Topic >
How's This For A (Working) Title: _Forever Young(er) > How The ReConfigured Brain And Mind Will Transform Our Life and Lives_ [:-)] / Stay Tuned >>>
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