It slightly boggles me that there’s no option in the software to redefine two, three, or ten typefaces rather than just one; it’s not as if that’s a massive drain on processing power even for an e-reader. My ongoing conviction is that we’re still dealing with the first and least interesting iteration of the ebook technology, which is surprisingly inflexible and constrained given that real books are the opposite – constantly overflowing their conceptual borders and doing cheeky things with fold-outs, pop-ups, turning into art canvases, and other experimental orthogonalities – and I believe there’s a minor world-changer in the background for whoever can do the second wave of ebooks properly.
We are in the first and least interesting phase of ebooks–I agree 100% with that. What is holding everyone back? Publishers? Book designers who haven’t opened their minds to new opportunities? Or perhaps not enough authors who push the envelope? Clearly, ebooks have advantages, like creating notes, looking up words, using different color highlights, copying phrases. That can all happen seamlessly and very quickly, and without carrying different color highlighters around. But so far I haven’t seen a lot of cool things done with type, or actually anything that can’t be done with a regular paper book.
Right off the bat I thought how wonderfully infuriating it would be if a who-done-it had a last paragraph where a word changed from dead to alive, and back, depending on the time of day. Or words flickered in and out, leaving doubt as to which was true. Photos can be printed in a book as well, but what about short video scenes or GIFs?
I am looking forward to ebook, phase two.