Some discussion that arose in the comments threads of a couple of posts at the end of last week got this blogger thinking about some of the directions in which books are heading in the digital age: eBooks with video embedded, enhanced eBooks, eBooks connected to other media via the Web. It’s an understatement to point out that one of the most exciting things about this moment in terms of technology and information–for the purposes of this blog, eReaders, iPad, eBook-based social networks, iPhone, apps–is that different kinds of information can overlap and be consumed together, placed into context in the same digital work, whether one calls that an eBook, a Vook, an app, a Website, a Wiki, a social network, whatever. But, of course, one of the implications of this advancement is that, while we used to segregate our media–I’m in the mood for a movie versus I feel like reading–now we don’t have to: now we tap the screen and a movie starts playing in the middle of our book.
What arose on this blog last week–in the post on readers’ responses to enhanced eBooks–was the notion that some readers don’t want to mix their media. They may like eBooks, but still want to be able to just read when they’re reading, even if they’re reading from a screen rather than a stack of bound paper. So here’s today’s big question: are eBooks changing reading itself? If so, is it a positive or negative change? Or if that’s too simplistic, what do you think is lost or gained through the mixing of text and other media in eBooks?
And don’t forget, that ain’t no normal book Penny Gadget is reading.