The other day I read “Time Machine” by H.G. Wells using Stanza. I’ve always had my doubts about digital books simply for the fact that it simply doesn’t “feel” the same. Plus, my experience with digital content is most with made for the web content such as blogs. It simply isn’t the same level of quality as long form writing whether it be fiction or non-fiction. This isn’t to detract from online works but it’s just an entirely different ball game. The demands placed on a writer to construct an extended narrative unfolding over hundreds of pages also pushes the reader to concentrate and digest more of the message. Of course, this is assuming a certain level of parity in quality regardless of the content’s length or form.
I found the act of reading a book on the iPhone’s small screen equal to books in many ways. Since the iPhone doesn’t offer multi-tasking about the only possible distraction would be an incoming phone call (it is a phone after all) or the occasional buzz from an email alert. However, it does require the reader to focus and concentrate on the content until you can really get into the experience and set aside the digital interface. Luckily, I’ve been spending more time with books of the paper variety lately so it wasn’t hard for me to get lost into the world of words on the iphone screen.
However, there are moments when you feel a tidal wave of temptations when you reflect for a moment that beyond the words on the screen there are a slew of time-wasting applications awaiting your touch. However, overall I think I can readjust my reading habits to really start reading more books using Stanza. It’s a really good app and very well-designed. I suppose the greatest challenge is to get people to start reading more as more people exclusively get their daily dose of prose exclusively from the internet.