UX & Service Designer for Connected Products

When Medium is Almost As Important As the Message

Category : Blog Post April 27, 2009

Several weeks ago I read about Blackwell, a bookseller in UK, started to sell just-in-time books. Machines in their store let customers order any book, even out-of-print books, and watch it printed and bound within minutes.

A novel idea: The machine that can print off any book for you in minutes [Source: MailOnline]

To an avid reader, that piece of news is more exciting than all the buzz generated by the Amazon Kindle. The electronic book market have been around for more than a decade. Manufacturers tried to package electronic books into different electronic gadgets and deliver them through numerous channels, but they are still missing the point.

There are strong psychological and sociological ties between printed books and the written words — the feeling of flipping through pages of well-written paragraphs in a lazy afternoon, the pride of walking down the street holding the most talked-about title, the cracking sound of brand new book, the sight of a curled-up cover, and the delight of seeing the spines of all the books that you read everytime you walk by your bookshelf. No electronic book can replicate any of those quality. If anything, electronic books turn the joy of reading into a sterile, single-dimensional act of information absorption. I can tilt down a book from my bookshelf and have an-hour long conversation with a dinner guest. It is hard to imagine having the same discussion while I PgDn through glowing pages of a PDF.

Book lovers don’t buy books for the message, they buy it for the medium.

What do you think?


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