Books in the Age of the iPad

Too much ink and too many pixels has been spilled of late about the state of reading or the state of publishing or the plight of books in the IT era. Craig Mod has a simple take on the matter: good riddance to all the ink and paper spent on books that simply don’t require it. By that he means mass market books, paperbacks we buy, read, and sometimes simply recycle or give away or shelve and never think about again.[^1]

Mod would probably include more books in that category, since he argues that any book that is almost all text and really doesn’t require any kind of design is probably best read on devices like the iPad or Kindle, where the text can be manipulated by the reader to their own preferences.

Reserved for valuable ink and paper in Mod’s world of future publishing are books that are designed with, well, design in mind. Books with lots of illustrations or books that have their layout as part of how you read them — I am particularly reminded of Joshua Mowll’s books.

That is, what the tablet opens up is the chance to read print books as print books and to read text books as texts. It’s an interesting idea.

[^1]: Please note that I am still a little worried about the ability to give away books in the digital era. Even as an author, I would rather see my work passed around and read than see its use limited only to one person.

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