Books + ebooks

02023-06-13 | Book | 2 comments

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.

Type – by Nick Harkaway – Fragmentary

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.


  1. Steve

    My latest experience with e-books has been … illuminating. I had three e-books that I had read, and was probably not going to read ever again. My wife wanted to read them. We were on the fancy Apple “family plan” for … well … everything: media, music, books, cloud storage, the lot.

    It should have been trivial … like falling off the proverbial log to give her those e-books. But no.

    It was an absolute disaster and I ended up clicking, or switching or bumping something that I ought not have, and managed make several errors in the process of giving her three books, which resulted in logging out of one Apple ID … I’ll spare you the tedium of the details … and into another and … now we are on separate plans just to keep what we had. Apple makes one wait 90 days before logging back in to a previously used Apple ID.

    Day 91 is 20230705.

    It ought to be like sending an iMessage: “you want these books? here ya go …” voop! they are no longer on my account and are now on hers because she is in the “fancy family plan.”

    This is another example of an implementation problem, not a conceptual problem.

    • ottmar

      That sounds like a nightmare. I don’t understand why you would have to give her the books in the first place? When one opens the Book app and selects “Reading Now” there is your avatar at the top right. When you click on that you see all of your books including family purchases. Simply find any book there and download.
      All of the books you bought should likewise show up in your wife’s Book app in this area.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.



Concert Dates

Thu, Jan 18 2024 in Dallas, TX
@ House of Blues

Sat, Jan 20 2024 in Houston, TX
@ House of Blues

Wed, Feb 14 2024 in San Juan Capistrano, CA
@ The Coach House

Thu, Feb 15 2024 in Solana Beach, CA
@ Belly Up


@Mastodon (the Un-Twitter)