Go Read This | Christopher Moore’s History News: HIstory of Technology

Smart AND simple!

But some of us write and read on computer screens. For that, it still makes sense to have text lines that are not too long for comprehension and to have screens that can show us quite a few lines of text at once. That is, our ideal screen would be something more like the shape of an 8×11 sheet of paper, taller than it is wide.

via Christopher Moore’s History News: HIstory of Technology.

Go Read This | Inside View from Ireland: Rise of Social, Demise of Literary Reading

So Say We All!

I’m concerned at the demise of literary reading–the reading of fiction, poetry, or plays. It has declined among all specified ethnic groups, at all educational levels, among all age groups, and among both women and men. In US research, the “steepest decline in literary reading is in the youngest age groups”. For example, the decline goes from 59.8 percent in 1982’s 18-to-24 group to 42.8 percent in groups surveyed in 2002. The decline in literary reading correlates with increased participation in Facebook, Twitter, and discussion boards.

via Inside View from Ireland: Rise of Social, Demise of Literary Reading.

Quick Link | Measuring Reading Speed on E-Readers Teaches Us That Speed Isn’t Usability « The Scholarly Kitchen

A great and well thought out response to the hyped news that reading on the ipad and kindle has been shown to be slower!

Carrying an iPad or Kindle, I can read many things in many formats, all on the same device. I may read marginally more slowly for extended passages, but I’ll probably do more reading overall on one of these devices, especially if I’m traveling, busy, or shifting settings. Having recently spent a vacation outside the US, the Kindle’s international delivery of books allowed me to purchase two new books while traveling — books I never would have found locally. I read more because of this. I could acquire these books without adding to my luggage. I paid less than for physical books. Does the fact upset me that, on average, I might read 100 e-pages while you read 110 in print? Good luck keeping up with me if I’m reading while you’re out shopping in a foreign country for an English-language book — or waiting for your printed book to ship.

via Measuring Reading Speed on E-Readers Teaches Us That Speed Isn’t Usability « The Scholarly Kitchen.

My 2009 Publishing Heroes

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Everyone is off writing prediction posts for 2010 (follow them on George’s wonderful tracker), I thought I might take a brief minute or two to consider the heroes of 2009. At least my heroes. I tried to keep it to a small list (5) and I chose them for personal reasons, they may grate with some (and yes I kinda broke my own limit with one of them).

Dominique Raccah – The Innovator
When I saw Dominique speak at TOC Frankfurt I was blown away. She was the breath of fresh air that I had been waiting for in the industry, she is passionate, articulate and insanely clever. She grasped the challenge of publishing in the present age brilliantly and has responded in kind. Her discussion of the publishing continuum has revolutionised my thinking on digital offerings and content and her passion for her company and its future is manifest and heartening. She is at the core of the discussion about how to respond to the challenge of digital content from the publishers perspective and I think she has the answers. She is a hero for 2010, and I suspect for many years to come too.

Mike Cane – The Writer’s Advocate and Alarm Bell
Cane provides solid analysis (caked as it can sometimes be in vitriolic hyperbole). His vision is not even remotely tainted by the fact that it comes solidly from a writers perspective, in fact in many ways that is his strength. Too much for some, he is never shy with his opinion but willing to respond when challenged and corrected.

The Quartet – The Try-ers
They briefly excited the online e-vangelist echo chamber with their hopes and ambitions for a digital only press. They failed. Trying something big and scary and failing publicly can be disheartening, dispiriting and depressing. But the Quartet have dusted themselves off and moved on with a speed and alacrity that is impressive.

James Bridle – The Inventor
James continues to amaze with the work he produces and the ideas he brings to fruition. I heartily recommend following him if only for the sense of wonder you have when you read about his latest project or the awe you feel when looking at the pictures he produces of them.

Jose Afonso Furtado – The Source
A seeming unstinting dedication to reading and linking out to the best stories online in the media, publishing and book sphere, is Jose’ great strength. If you follow his twitter deed you will be connected and in the loop on just about all the trends you might need to monitor.

It’s not a long list, but I think it’s a good one!

A New Word For Reading (On Screens)

Could scholars and neuroscientists (and bloggers!) benefit from a new word for “reading on screens” and what might that word be, in your opinion?

A guest blog by Danny Bloom in Taiwan. [Thanks Dan and sorry for the delay in running this! Eoin]

I’m on a crusade of sorts to try to find a new word for “reading” on computer screens and Kindle and other e-reader device screens — other than “reading”, that is! — and I wonder if you’d join me in my quixotic quest.

I’m pushing forward with my little crusade, step by step, despite the many naysayers, who keep telling me:

“No, Danny, you’re wrong. There’s no need for a new for reading on screens. Reading is reading.”

Sometimes I feel this word search campaign is like pushing a heavy stone up a steep hill, only to have it roll back a few feet every time we advance a few inches. But along the way, I have met some experts in the education and technology fields who have told me this is a good question to ask, and to keep pushing on, gently, quietly. So I soldier on.

Although few people in the education and technology fields agree with me on this novel idea, but I remain determined. In fact, a few experts and forecasters around the world have told me privately that this crusade is worth it, if only to start a global discussion on the future of reading and the future of E-readers.

Reading on screens is a whole new ballgame, I feel, and I believe Western culture needs a new word for this new human activity. It is more than just “reading”. On a screen, you scroll, you link, you see photos and videos, you use a mouse or buttons on a Kindle, and then of course, you read. This is reading-plus-one.

So I feel we might need a new word for this, although I have no idea what that word will be in the end, because as many people have told me in the past year during the course of my crusade, new words happen organically and naturally, when the time is right, and when the need becomes more than apparent. So this is all just to jumpstart a good discussion, pro and con.

I read, of course, on both paper surfaces and screens every day, and I love both. I am not a Luddite. I love technology as much as you do. One is not a priori better or worse than the other, just different, and we need to study these differences more with brain scan tests and other scholarly research. A new word might help us “see” the differences better. That’s my hunch.

Some people online have suggested such words as “screening” and “screading”. Who knows which words we will adopt for this or when? I have no idea. I just like thinking about it now, and when the time is right, the new words or terms will come. One blogger told me we might even need two words for this, one for reading on computer screens, which are back-lit, and another for reading on e-readers like the Kindle, which uses E-Ink for the screens.

I am open to all suggestions for the new words, and I am very patient about this crusade, while at the same time steadfast and committed to this seemingly impossible word search. Patience is my middle name: Danny
“Patience” Bloom (1949 – 2032).

Do you, dear reader, have any suggestions on this? All ideas are welcome, and all comments are welcome, too, both pro and con. Let the discussion begin!