Saturday, October 01, 2011

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The remains of the book

Unsurprisingly not a fan of Kindle’s new X-Ray capability; see the link below for more details

"When you reduce friction, make something easy," says Bezos, correctly, "people do more of it." The friction in this case is the self-containment of the printed book, the tenacity of its grip on the reader. The reduction of the friction is the replacement of text with highly responsive hypertext. What people do more of is shift their focus and attention away from the words of the book and toward the web of snippets wrapped around the book - dictionary definitions, Wikipedia entries, character descriptions from Shelfari, and so forth. It's easy to see the usefulness of X-Ray, particularly for reference books, manuals, and other publications of a utilitarian nature. But Bezos is not X-Raying a cookbook. He's X-Raying a novel: Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. He is, in a very real sense, treating a work of art as though it were an auto repair manual. Which is, of course, what the web wants a work of art to be: not a place of repose, but a jumping-off point.

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: The remains of the book

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