“But, heck, Apple already has patents on 3-D gesture recognition using the iPad, so perhaps an additional accessory isn’t even necessary. ‘Apple can do a lot with the box they have in terms of disrupting and changing people’s expectations of what TV is,’ ” (prospect of Apple TV) WIRED
Book reading is leaking away from color LCD devices. Touch navigation is the doorway into all kinds of electronic delivery on all sizes of screens and attentive book reading is increasingly enclaved with hand-held, electrophoric black eink and, weirdly, circled backward to paper delivery.
“This report explores alternative scenarios, where the technology of the printed book does not disappear or become extinct, but occupies a different position in a technological ecology characterized by the proliferation of e-books and digital libraries.” David Staley
There is a new report from the ACRL titled Scenarios for the Future of the Book. The report is interesting as it considers future scenarios that include useful roles for print books within digital libraries. The report is also helpful as it describes more responsible methods for projection of the future of the book.
The report develops its scenarios using “Cross-impact analysis (that) is based upon the premise that events and practices do not happen in a vacuum and other events and the surrounding environment can significantly influence the probability of certain events to occur. Cross-impact analysis involves running each of the descriptors against each other.”
So the scenarios are composites of circumstances that tolerate or even catalyze each other. Features of these scenarios are derived from surveys of ACRL Directors. Four scenarios are presented, three of which include a flourishing future role for print books within research libraries. The projection is only a few years out to 2020.
Any librarian can imagine print books in 2020. Print publication and reader preference assure that future. The uncertainties derive from influences of hybrid print/screen services. From the FotB perspective the four scenarios presented all evade a useful path for cross-impact analysis that was impeded by survey bias. Directors were not surveyed regarding the persistence of the very interdependence of print and screen books that they now know.
What if print and screen books are the complements of natural library ecology? What if reader preference and technological advances will invigorate both delivery formats and neither print or screen books will flourish without the vigorous other? Such a scenario certainly confronts cross-analysis head on and, if Directors would agree, reflects conditions on the ground.
Design is important within the paratext overall. Well designed paratext; cover graphic and typographic option, indexing, title page, table of contents, page size, device morphology and so on are “read” just as is the narrative content. When we are interrupted or distracted in the course of reading, either of paratext or text, we “read” the interruption. That is what reading is; perceiving and interpreting all that delivery format provokes.
The cover can be a privileged component of paratext, in both screen and print books if that is the component delivered first and used as a first selector. Screen literacy has advanced our skills of quick deletion and, for example, we will not open every email. With emails we may delete from the address level alone. So the cover for screen books could be an even more crucial gatekeeper.