Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handheld Digital Magazines - An Intriguing Concept

Being that it's almost 2010, it's somehow appropriate to blog about this really cool concept video that came across my Twitter stream via @levarburton (Yep, of Roots, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek fame!). Mr. Burton's exact Twitter words that intrigued me and made me click to watch the video were "8 minutes that rocked my world! This changes the ereading game...!"

To quote the purpose of the video from its web page:

This conceptual video is a corporate collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by our design partners at BERG.

The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.

I was fascinated by this video and the digital magazine concept. Being a lover of reading, I was mostly struck by the idea of trying to preserve some of the traditional paper-based reading experience while moving to a digital medium. I'm actually encouraged by this.

One of the issues I have having been born and learning to read in the pre-digital era is the experience of reading is not the same quality for me when I am reading on a computer screen. I have not as of yet tried a Kindle or any other brand of e-reader simply because the idea of reading an entire novel on a small digital screen holds no appeal for me. I realize as an educator that this is the way things are going, and I should probably force myself to try an e-reader or e-book, but I don't really want to invest in one when it appeals to me so little.

The conceptual digital magazine caught my interest, though. I wanted to hold it and try it out. I think the fact that I would interact with it makes me think it will be closer to the paper-based experience I am used to. I also started to imagine the possibilities for longer works - plays, short stories, even novels - where more graphics could be incorporated with the text. Not that I want to ever give up being able to imagine the settings and events in my head, but think of classic works of literature with historically accurate graphical backgrounds enhancing the text. Or works set in the future with the author's concepts of the settings visually represented.  Just leave the characters out so I can still picture them in my mind, please. :-)

Anyway, you can see the video stirred up some ideas in my head. Take about eight minutes to view it, and see if it does the same for you. Maybe it will "rock your world" as well!

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.