The Shallows Ch 6 – The Very Image of a Book

Evolution of e-readers

The introduction of the e-book reader gave us another medium format option for reading books. The first handheld e-book was the Rocket…Check out some of the early devices:

Concerns with Digital reading

The very things that are supposed to enhance our reading experience, like having links embedded in the text, internet connectivity, the ability to search for definitions, also make it very difficult for a person to get immersed in their book (like the deep reading issue we talked about before). These dynamic “enhancements” act more like interruptions for the reader because there are so many different things embedded within the medium to distract the user and shorten their attention spans.

This allows the reader to quickly dip in and out of the book they may be reading; read a quick few pages on the bus or while waiting in a line. But how much are we really retaining when we do this? There is a lot of debate around this answer. Many studies say that we read slower and less accurately from a screen whereas others believe that there are too many factors involved to choose sides.

Changing the Way We Read and Write

Something to think about: our e-readers are even tracking how we read our books: how many pages we read in one sitting, what words we highlight, the total hours to complete a book, etc. Publishing companies want this information in order to tailor the way books are written in order to do things like fine-tune manuscripts to reflect tastes based on the data.

Wall Street Journal Reporter Alexandra Alter talks about how this data shapes the way books are written, click here for the full audio clip   

Vooks and Interactive E-Books

Vooks: these are more than just e-books, they also have embedded video and links within them. Mimicking the style of the internet. Check it out below:

Interactive e-books are another example of the direction that the ebook is taking:

This format is much more interactive and takes advantage of the many gestures available on the ipad. Software developer, Mike Matas, explains his next generation of e-books:

What’s a Cell Phone Novel

Cell phone novels are actually books that use cell phones to write stories and are intended to be read on the same device. Writers upload texts to create short stories and readers can post comments and feedback directly to the author based on what they’ve read.

Here is a video describing what cell phone novels are:


“Greatest skill is discovering meaning among contexts that are continually in flux” 
– Mark Federman

but is it really?

This video, “How Multitasking Damages Your Brain” by SimplePickup2 demonstrates how multi-tasking is not effective.

The Moment App – Bored & Brilliant

Did you guys check this app out? For those of you that didnt, the app is something that tracks how many times you pick up your phone as well as the total screen time. Bored & Brilliant is a podcast with challenges to have you put down your phone and get creative!

Bored & brilliant challenges:

  • Keep your phone in your pocket
  • see the world through your eyes (not your phone camera)
  • Delete that app
  • Take a “fauxcation”
  • Make small observations you would have otherwise missed
  • Dream house



Weekly Roundup

More information relating to Paramount Studio’s decision to stop using film. This is a compelling, brief, interview about the power of archiving. How does archiving change when everything is immaterial?

WOW. Please don’t send me hate mail.

Impulsiveness and Media Multitasking. Still, I argue it’s better to do one thing at a time. JUST ONE THING. OKAY? What’s so wrong with sustained concentration?

Are you dating?

Impact of Net Neutrality in Canada.

Angry Birds, now with more things to make you *actually* angry.

A creative approach to coding. She uses THIS software if you are inspired.

More information related to the Internet of Things (re: last week’s post about Google acquiring NEST)