Thursday, January 28, 2010
Boys, Books, and the iPad
For me, the iPad does nothing particularly well that I don't already do better with another device. I don't need a larger iPod. When I want to watch TV I use my iPhone. If I want a bigger screen, I go to my TV. It's not portable enough to go to places like the gym. I can't write on it like my netbook or do other stuff like on my laptop. It hasn't got multitasking, so even if I could edit on it, I wouldn't be able to edit AND fact check. For me, it doesn't fill a need.
However, I think that if we're going to reach new readers, especially reluctant readers, the iPad is going to be how we do it. It's the kind of device that could take concepts like the Vook (interactive books) and make them something spectacular. I'm never going to be the target audience for a backlit reading device because it hurts my eyes, but todays generation, and future generations, are going to be so used to reading on back lit screens (which continue to get better) that they won't have a problem reading whole books on devices like the iPad.
I know this has been tried on computers before, but computers aren't cuddly. You can't curl up with one on a rainy day. You can't spend 8 hours outside on a cloudy day with one.
The iPad looks like it might be the first step toward changing that.
So, will I buy it? Probably not. (Yeah, I said the same thing about the Kindle and look where that got me) But I think lots of people will. And if the Big Publishers are smart and daring, they'll use their partnership with Apple and with this device to create a new kind of reading experience. One not limited by ink and paper. Because, to move into the future, we shouldn't be trying to replicate books, we should be trying to make them awesomer!