Showing posts with label E-books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label E-books. Show all posts

April 14, 2012

Reading With Technology Is Fundamental

For it's 45th anniversary, the non-profit organization, Reading is Fundamental (a.k.a. RIF) came out with a new logo and brand this past November.

RIF's vision is "a literate America in which all children have access to books and discover the joys and value of reading."

Their new logo--can be seen in comparison to the prior version at Brand New--and is supposed to re-energize RIF, which according to its own press release has lost its public awareness and almost $25 million in Congressional funding.

While the logo is bolder with the yellow and blue and a more rounded and open book, I think that RIF has really missed the mark here in terms of being contemporary and in tune with the times. 

Most kids, like their adult mentors, are doing more and more reading not in traditional paper books, but rather online and through mobile applications. 

Whether using tablet readers like the iPad, Nook, or Kindle Fire or just going online and surfing the Internet for news, information, research and more, technology is changing the way we read. 

At a time when the largest book stores are closing down--Borders is already gone and Barnes and Nobles is experiencing financial problems as well, and the publishing industry is in trouble and continuing to lose subscribers and ad dollars, the shift to technology is jarring. 

While RIF does mention in their press release--4 bullets in--that they want to increase mobile applications to "create mobile literacy experiences for children and families to enjoy while on the go," RIF is definitely missing the bigger picture here--which is that reading is moving to technology platforms and is not just just another supplemental vehicle for people anymore.  

On their site store, RIF sells monogrammed iPhone and iPad cases, but why not actual computers, book readers, and learning software--perhaps donated, recycled, or even subsidized models for families in need. 

Additionally, RIF can become more environmentally-friendly by promoting use of energy-efficient technology and reusing, recycling, and reducing thereby helping us move toward a more efficient, thrifty, and paperless society. 

Don't get me wrong, I love books, newspapers, and magazines, but the time that I spend with a hardcopy in my hands these days, is maybe 20% of the time that I am reading and writing online.  

To serve American families in driving literacy, RIF firsts needs to be relevant and another book logo just doesn't get them where they need to be technologically and environmentally.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Monello)


November 20, 2007

E-books and enterprise architecture

Does anyone really think you want to read a book on a computer screen?

Well, vendors like Sony with their "Reader" and Amazon with their new "Kindle" think you will.

However, while 110 million iPods have been sold, only 100,000 e-book readers have sold in North America. (The Wall Street Journal, 20 November 2007)

A Kindle costs $399 and downloading a best-seller is $9.99, while classics cost as little as $1.99. You can also get newspaper subscriptions online for a monthly subscription fee.

While Amazon has a wonderful vision "to have every book that has ever been in print available in less than 60 seconds," the core hurdle from a User-centric EA perspective needs to be addressed:

Users can and like to read size manageable documents online (like this blog, maybe), but a book on a screen does still not 'feel' natural and is tiring on users physically, mentally, and emotionally. The core requirement is for ergonomic reading and it's just not there!

While the current technology enables e-book reading without a backlight and "provides an experience that is akin to reading on paper, and users can even change the font size to make print larger and easier to read, the technology is not still user-friendly. Can you easily jump back and reread something? Can you easily highlight or underline? Can you annotate in the margins? Can you flip over the corner of the page to mark it as important? And with all these, can you do it in a way that is appealing to the various human sensation in a holistic way? Finally, can you easily experience (not just with a page number) your progress as you read through the book, so you can feel good about it?

As the article states: "he likes the physicality of a book and the sense of making progress as he reads." There is definitely a very human pleasure aspect missing in reading a book online and until vendors figures out the missing architectural components that links the user and the technology with an interface that is user-centric, the e-readers will continue to flounder.

The WSJ concludes that "even some dedicated fans of digital technology say they have their doubts about reading books in an electronic format," and for now so do I.