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Digital books

I usually try out new technologies as soon as I can. Partly because it’s my job to get my hands dirty to get a feel of where new things can take us.

But it’s also because I genuinely love trying new stuff out.

The one thing I’ve never seriously used is a Kindle. I’ve played with it a few times over the years by fooling around with my friends devices but i have never read a book “cover to cover” on the kindle. It just never felt right to me. The blinking screen, the awkward keyboard and ui, the lack of color etc.

But I’m reading books now on the ipad.

And it’s fantastic. The biggest drawback to date has been the limited selection in the iBookstore but we know this will improve.

It’s exciting to think about the future of books and textbooks and how they will impact education, entertainment and the world.

It’s interesting that apple paid so much detail to making a digital book feel like an analog book. They give you a bookcase to store your books. They have a slick way to turn pages that is pure delicious eye candy. You can bookmark pages. There are page numbers. The list of analog gestures goes on.

But i don’t see why we need to maintain all of these analog things. Just like the iPhone ditched the desktop metaphor of folders, documents and the trashcan, it seems like the digital book needs to make that same leap.

Future digital books can free themselves and become beautiful web pages – along with links, annotations, social interactivity, video and beautiful text. Maybe a future textbook could look like a blog post?

It just feels like books on the ipad are screaming to be set free.

I would also love to see the barrier on the tools side of things lowered so anyone can create beautiful digital books or websites or whatever they turn out to become.

Anyway back to my reading on the ipad. I’m reading the “happiness project” right now. And thinking about the future of digital books is making me very happy.

(please excuse lack of links and typos. Writing this on my iPhone).