Posted by: Steven Harris | May 10, 2008

All Too Bookish

photo by Robin HammanI’ve had an epiphany that e-book readers like the Kindle and the Sony Reader are trying too much to be like books. They are trying to improve on the technology of reading, but that may be a failed enterprise. The beauty of the digital may be, rather, the ability to go beyond text, to integrate multimedia into the reading experience. This is not to say that extended reading will (or should) disappear, but only that printed books are a very effective reading technology. Electronic devices, on the other hand, can include audio, video, and other media. E-book uptake may be low for this very reason. E-book devices are not a significant improvement on print and don’t yet offer integration of other media. I am not sold on it as a reading or media device, but the iPhone may serve as the model for the kind of integrated device I am thinking about. I look forward to a device that has all of iPhone’s media capabilities (phone, video, audio, text, and multi-touch screen), but in a slightly larger format: something between an iPhone and a Samsung Q1. THAT would be a useful media device!

photo by Robin Hamman



  1. You know, I hadn’t thought of it that way. But, I take a book and a mp3 player to the gym. Wouldn’t one device be lovely. And, a device that would allow me to keep track of my workouts, instead of the little notebook I take now. That, I might purchase… if it’s reasonably priced and the text for the book is readable.

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