Besides the occasional thread drift
, thanks for the insightful replies. I agree, we have seen some things from technology that improve reading in some, or most, cases:
- immediate access to a large portion of, if not your entire, library; and if online, access to all the available public domain works and whatever you care to buy, without leaving your La-Z-Boy
- improved readability (front-lit panels, changeable fonts and sizes)
- instant access to a dictionary (in some cases, at least - the technology of e-reading supports it)
- audio books - my wife, for health reasons, now listens to many books that she would have read years ago. The limit here is where diagrams or photos or video are required. At that point, including them makes them more like a "The Teaching Company" DVD than something I would call reading.
I would add things beyond, for example, ePub 2, such as external links to many types of additional information: author biographies, book commentaries, reviews (and someone mentioned the social aspect). I don't mean to limit the discussion to a current specification, but did intend to limit it to activities we can think of as "reading". Listening to someone read a book is on the edge of that, I guess, but making a multimedia production (adding full-time video and sound) of a book is something else to me; i.e. not "reading".
I had excluded things like textbooks from my thinking, and said to myself that interactivity is outside the scope of what reading is, but now I'm not sure that a version of Euclid's Elements, for example, with interactive drawings and a geometry engine behind it (think Wolfram) will be outside what we consider "reading" in the future. When you move beyond printed or displayed words to illustrations and photos and sounds, then extensions of these things stretch the meaning of reading.