December 13, 2008

[Connecting Bits] Rekindled Reading and the Kindle

Ammon Shea’s reading of the Oxford English Dictionary, all 21,730 pages, sounds like one of the ultimate experiences of consuming the visible word in its most intimate and enduring form factor: the printed book. In an NPR story, One Man, One Year, One Mission: Read The OED, Ammon says, “I love the tactile sensation of turning one page to the next and feeling my fingers across them. I love having the weight of the book in my lap; I like the way that books smell—that's a huge part of it.” Another advanced form factor that appeared earlier this year, and one meant to keep the intimate reading experience intact, was Amazon’s e-book reader Kindle. It was quickly judged, but for those who lived with it and have given the device a chance, they have fed its sign as the future of books and reading them. How would Ammon’s palpable reading experience of the OED compare with his digital reading of it?

Image by twoeyes, Flickr. Click on image to see larger version.

On a related note, the Kindle’s packaging design is attractive. A friend of mine thought it didn’t leave much to the imagination and needed color and color images. I was quick to disagree. Packaging design doesn’t always need to be imbued with the convention of color and color images. Type is the color and image in the Kindle’s case. Its minimalism feeds the imagination “in my book.”