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Interactive reading - Completely changing the way we take in information.
1st August 2012

Illustration by Bhakti Chande

Recently I have become the proud owner of a Samsung Tab 10.1 (i know, i know?i am a late bloomer). What was surprising is the extent by which it changed my reading habits.

I have always been a paper reader, preferring a physical book to any of the electronic medium. I was never a big fan of e-books when they started appearing a few years back.  But thanks to technology a lot has changed.

The three tools I use almost synchronously

1. Pulse RSS Aggregator/ Reader (pulse.me) - This handy application allows me to pull RSS feeds content from over 40-50 websites and blogs that I follow. Everyone from Malcolm Gladwell to Deepak Chopra are part of my breakfast reading.

2. A Web Browser - Often the articles on the Pulse reader will have links and i simply open them in the accompanying browser to explore the material further. Switching between the browser and the reader allows me to explore any topic in great depth.

3. Amazon Kindle App - Often from the Pulse reader or the websites/blogs i get names of cool books that I might like to read. These I search and download a preview through my Amazon kindle app. If the book seems interesting I buy it through the app and within 10 seconds its on my tablet.

So at anytime you will find me switching between pulse, the browser and amazon on a merry reading journey which takes you from one place and drops you in an entirely new place.

What does it mean for traditional publishing methods?

Paper with its limited interactivity definitely seems to be on its way out. I think its only a matter of time before e-paper (electronic paper) starts showing up everywhere.

Cross referencing and cross linking are now very important for new age reading. You can expand and dig deep into any topic or even a word with just a click.

For book authors and publishers, websites and blogs with RSS feed are now the most important  conduit  for sales. Book stores are history (or will be soon).

People will now have a rambling style of reading, not  necessarily  ending at the topic they began with. This will create a lot of broad knowledge in modern readers.

Good writing will never go out of style. Whether its on paper or on a device, compelling writing will always captivate the reader. Content is primary, medium is secondary.

In conclusion its a dream come true for a avid reader like myself. Not only do I get access to thousands of books on Amazon without the endless loitering in book shops (which i shall miss) but also access to the latest thought leaders on any subject through their websites and blogs. A win win for all.

Cheers,
Ron

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