I’ve written before on this blog that what I like most about the Kindle is the way that its design promotes linear reading. As I see it, the Kindle, far from providing the distractions that webpages and some other screens offer, makes it easy to keep turning the pages. Well, for at least one person, that’s just the problem. Bradley Inman is developing Vook, a platform for integrating text, video, and social networking. (I learned about Vook from this story.) So, as I see it, Inman is trying to take the single most annoying kind of webpage — the kind that surrounds the text you’re trying to read with animated GIFs and other attention-distracting gambits — the kind that Readability was created in order to help desperate readers avoid — and make it the foundation for a whole publishing platform. This sounds like one of the worst ideas I can imagine. Why would you want to put a bunch of text on a screen and then do everything you can to make it impossible for people to read it?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and argue that Vook is a least a place to start.
I agree that having, say, other readers' ideas about the text/words/ending/whatever showing up as, say, a Twitter stream, would be annoying beyond belief.
But a "book" with embedded links to other sources could be useful. I write non-fiction, so I've been thinking about how digitization could be used (usefully!) in an e-book. Say, links to an external source that provide more information about a topic related to the book. Something like that.
Vook is a start. And hey, at least he's thinking about the hard realities facing the publishing industry, which, sadly, is something few people in publishing are willing to do.
By the way, Alan, I've begun using Readability. It sure makes keeping up with the articles on Arts & Letters Daily a more pleasant experience!
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