The Girls’ Section of OUP’s bindery. Printed sheets are folded by the women using ivory rulers (also known as bone folders), and the folded sheets are then gathered into sections to be sewn.
Both the computer as a writing technology and the forms of electronic writing can be allied to almost any theoretical position, including the most traditional. After all, the computer is now used to prepare most printed books for publication: as a tool for photocomposition, it reinforces the stability and fixity associated with print, the traditional views of the nature of authorship, and finally the economic dominance of major publishers and distributors. But traditionalists have generally regarded electronic technology as a threat to, rather than an extension of, their literary values.
traditionalists have generally regarded electronic technology as a threat to[…] their literary values.
Is this a concern for “max-capacity reading” or a transformation in the audience wanting a more engaging experience. While it is clear that many of these apps market themselves on their ability to make the ‘task’ of reading more efficient, they also bring a new experience to reading itself. Whether it is a printed page or a blog post, the text is a block that does not move. I am tasked with the work of navigation, I have to scan the page to extract the content. The cost of reading is placed on me (although I may be facilitated by contextual and material decisions such as lighting, stock, typography and other graphic arrangements). These apps allow the text to come to me, and produce an experience not dissimilar to a conversation. The information flows in real-time. It streams. This would suggest that I am somehow made more passive, but I think there are ways in which we could contest that. I experience a block of text more like a lecture, where I am talked at. Streaming that text makes it more like a conversation. Someone is talking to me, not everyone. I have to pay attention. In that sense blocks of type remind me of certain disciplinary models of teaching that are largely (although I would suggest, uncritically) dismissed.
Marcus Leis Allion
My Reading Machine
“Though we have advanced from Gutenberg’s movable type through the linotype and monotype to photo-composing we still consult the book in its original archaic form as the only oracular means we know for carrying the word mystically to the eye. “A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred thousand word novels if I want to, and I want to.” My machine is equipped with controls so the reading record can be turned back or shot ahead, a chapter reread or the happy ending anticipated.”
— Bob Brown, 1929
Trust me, you can consume hundred thousand word novels in a few seconds using my device.
Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays. Scrolling, pinching, and resizing a reading area doesn’t fix the problem and only frustrates people. Now, with compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our “Redicle” technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you. Best of all, Spritz’s patent-pending technology can integrate into photos, maps, videos, and websites to promote more effective communication.
- “Bob Brown’s Reading Machine & the Imagined Escape from the Page”, Abigail Thomas (2012)
- Reading Machine, Carly Ayres (2013)
- BeeLine Reader (2013)
- WordFlashReader (2008)
(via Nikos Voyiatzis)
“You and the book; some thoughts on the practice and future of ePub”, interview with Megan Hoogenboom, by Harold Konickx (2014)
Graphic designer Megan Hoogenboom (Rotterdam) talks about the implications of publishing going digital. Also she elaborates on the future of publishing and gives us her view on the end of the Internet as we know it.