The Reading Experience

The e-publishing movement has magazine and book publishers scrambling to fashion a multimedia product out of what was traditionally print fueled by imagination and illustration.  I’m sure some businesses load up on bells and whistles like empty calories, but from the mouths of a growing e-reading populous, it seems others publishers are getting it right.  Videos, music, commentaries, and myriad other enhancements are now merging with reading to augment the experience.  I wonder if strictly print publishing will eventually become a niche industry fueled by “creative types” and nostalgia.  As long as it still exists in some fashion, I suppose.  It seems for a publisher to remain competitive and relevant today they must give you the whole shebang. Magazines are proving the most adept at this transition so far, at least in terms of incorporating multi-media components, and it was today’s interactive magazine that made me think of the moving pictures scattered throughout J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world.

I realize that I am not the first by far to draw the comparison, but I was surprised when searching for Daily Prophet images how close we already are to having these moving newspapers.  A video clip on the development of electronic paper showed this innovation was well underway in 2007!  

Last November, the Wall Street Journal‘s Innovation Award was given to a company that invented a paper-thin flexible display like those discussed in the news clip linked above.  It turns out most large electronics companies are working on their own flexible displays: Toshiba even revealed one at a trade show in 2010 that will zoom in on images just by bending the LCD display. And just last month, Gizmag ran a feature stating that Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute revealed a flexible, re-writable, re-usable e-paper that doesn’t even require electricity.

I find all this incredible.  I feel we’re living in a more subtly futuristic era than was predicted by our predecessors for 2000 and beyond, but that we’re living science fiction all the same.  I’m not sorry for innovation but I am glad to have been amongst the first generation of Harry Potter fans, to whom moving portraits were still a magical invention.  I believe Rowling’s books will endure, but I do wonder if some of the effect will be lost as aspects of the wizarding world are usurped by muggle scientists.  It was her imaginative details that won me over immediately–the cat reading a map, to be precise–and it saddens me to think of that lessening over time.

In honor of imagination, then, I’d like to leave you  with a nice smattering of modern, creative charm.  Enjoy!

Novel Architecture, as seen on High-Low Tech

Visit their page for a detailed look into this larger-than-life pop-up

Telescrapbook by Natalie Freed

See it in action on vimeo.

Just for fun: Better than iPad

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