February 22, 2018

Digital experiences while reading

Oooh, I do love literary and publishing spats! 

It's a bit of a worry though when Arnaud Nourry, CEO of one of the world's biggest publishing conglomerates, Hachette, comes out swinging against e-books. 

This from The Guardian:

"... The ebook is a stupid product. It is exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience."

To be followed by this rebuttal by author Erin Kelly, also from The Guardian:

"Nourry claims there is no digital experience. Isn’t that the point? If it’s got graphics, noise or animation, it’s no longer a book – it’s a computer game or a movie. Just as I write disconnected from the internet and in silence, I don’t want my books to do other stuff. The beauty of the book, in a world of digital noise, is the purity of the reading experience – and there’s nothing stupid about that."

Are we raising a generation of book-readers who can't just read un-enhanced words and must be endlessly entertained or dazzled at the same time? Why does everything have to have a digital angle these days?

For a long time, I've wondered how students can study and absorb serious concepts while plugged into loud music or working in noisy environments. I'm not one of those writers who needs background music. I can best focus my mind without any distractions at all, but then I was raised in a different era, so either I'm lucky or disadvantaged depending on your point of view. In fact, I'm actually one of those sad folk who turns the radio down in the car when I'm travelling a route I haven't been before, in order to concentrate exactly on where I'm going!

As to e-books, I find them ideal for fiction: thrillers, bestsellers, romantic sagas, etc - books you will only ever read once. They are no good at all for non-fiction or anything that has maps, photos, illustrations, footnotes or indexes. You can't flip backwards and forwards easily with e-books but, on the plus side, I love the ease of transport, the lightness, the built-in dictionary and as my eyesight diminishes with age, also the ability to change the font and page size (as Erin Kelly says in her article).

Check out these 35 Funniest Cartoons on Ebook Friendly, all hilarious.  This one by Tom Gauld is my favourite - I can't wait to try absorbing the next Dan Brown novel by odourless gas ...

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