With the advent (and growing popularity) of eBooks, I’m seeing more and more articles about how much “better” they can be, because they have the option to be interactive … videos, music, glossaries … all sorts of little extra goodies to help “enhance” your reading experience, rather like listening to the Director’s commentary on a DVD of your favorite movie.
How do you feel about that possibility? Does it excite you in a cutting-edge kind of way? Or does it chill you to the bone because that’s not what reading is ABOUT?
I’m not sure interactivity in reading is that cutting edge or should be the cause of anyone getting chills. Reading has always been interactive. That’s what our parents and teachers meant when they said, “Look it up!” If we encounter a word in our reading that we don’t know, we were taught to look it up in a dictionary. If it’s an event in history or a current event, we consult an encyclopedia or a news magazine to get the appropriate background. The internet didn’t change that aspect of reading; it simply made it easier. The fully developed ebook will make it easier still. I can only think that improved opportunities to analyze and synthesize our thoughts around what we read will be a good thing.
Here are some things that I want from fully developed ebooks:
- instant on-line book clubs, so I can discuss the book with others who are reading it at the same time
- audio option, so I can go from reading the book to listening to it (while I cook supper or take a walk) and back to reading again
- resource lists, so I can explore other books, articles, and information about topics that arise in my reading (by the way, can I have the job of compiling the resource lists for ebooks, please?)