Long Form Reading

Man. I love Nicholson Baker. On a total aside, read The Mezzanine, his book about tangential thinking. The novel is written maybe 60% in footnotes that are near-random asides and mental meanderings. Kind of like my blog.

He wrote a recent article in the New Yorker about the Kindle. As we all should know by now, there are lots of ways to read. Lots of people are trying to figure out what life will be like in the future with all this change going on around us. Did you see this in-process report from Portigal Consulting about just that?

Amazon’s Bezos calls reading a whole book “long form reading”…but now people use small screens to read all the time, everywhere, in little snips, reducing the immersive nature of reading. Do we sit alone in our rooms and read for hours anymore? And does having Kindles and iPhone Apps help or hurt or are we just on the verge of a total paradigm shift in consuming information? Is it Long Form Reading if I read the book over weeks in the bathroom, the subway, the beach and the elevator? This is clearly a different type of reading.

Maybe e-ink is not the way to go. Last week at the beach my friend seemed to have no problem reading his iPhone. And Baker takes hilarious aim at the screen:

“This was what they were calling e-paper? This four-by-five window onto an overcast afternoon? Where was paper white, or paper cream? Forget RGB or CMYK. Where were sharp black letters laid out like lacquered chopsticks on a clean tablecloth?”

So…what is the future of Long Form Reading?


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