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This day’s portion

How the iPad makes coffee table books

I enjoyed this longish piece on skeuomorphism, particularly the comparison between the Kindle and the iPad’s relationship with ‘real’ books.

I couldn’t agree more. Reading from the Kindle isn’t a pleasure or a joy, any more than reading from a paperback is a pleasure or a joy. It’s just something you can do.

Compare that with the iPad’s ebook app. It’s a detailed picture of a book that you can manipulate, a representation of a book rather than an actual book.

This discourages reading. While the iPad may look better in a TV ad (or on a train), the way it encourages you to admire the book rather than read the words makes it harder to immerse yourself in the text. It’s almost as if the ebook app is an advert for the wonderful piece of technology you’re holding, rather than a means of reading a book.

Just like when designers fetishise book design, the iPad makes a lifestyle statement out of the book you’re reading.