[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 111, Issue 9 (Domenico Quaranta, Ethel Baraona Pohl)
adam at flossmanuals.net
Sun Feb 16 01:51:23 EST 2014
On 02/15/2014 05:25 AM, Ethel Baraona Pohl wrote:
> I would add that yes, I also agree with that. Maybe is on us, as
> publishers to try to deeply understand the different platforms we have
> and use them properly. e.g. I don't see any improvement when a book is
> simply transformed into a PDF to be read on tablets, because we're not
> using the possibilities that the device offers, such as implementing
> videos, podcast, 3D models, etc.
So...the interesting thing is that in this day and age 'books are not
transformed into PDF'. I don't to take issue with the loaded meaning of
'books' in this statement because I understand what you mean, however
what is interesting to me is that because of the age of accelerated
medium transformation we could be switch the two key operators in this
sentence and it would be be equally true. Which do you prefer?:
"Books are transformed into PDF"
"PDF are transformed into Books".
Depending on who you are one of these statements is true and the other
is absurd or, at best, annoying.
'books' these days, if we are to talk about paper, are first digital.
There are not many books still being produced by analog means.
Thankfully, although I want to skip the politics of file formats for now
which is a troublesome issue here, there is a single format (PDF) that
all paper books transition through. So you could very easily say that
paper books are a conversion of the digital and that it is not a very
good conversion because while it may leverage the tactile features of
paper we lose all the digital opportunity.
Is it a lossful conversion? Hard to say when a specific form of
tactile-ness is gained but at the same time it is possible to agree that
something is lost in all paper books when they continue their transition
from digital to paper - their 'digitality' perhaps.
So I find these kinds of statements illustrative in that we are very
very deep into the transformation of books. It is not EPUB or Amazon or
any phenomenon in the last 5 years that has caused it. Our language has
not yet caught up with the deep transformations that have already taken
place - we are still swimming about on the surface trying to make sense
of the apparently obvious and we end up inevitably and unfortunately in
a hopeless mess.
I also find the statement "I don't see any improvement when a book is
simply transformed into a PDF to be read on tablets, because we're not
using the possibilities that the device offers, such as implementing
videos, podcast, 3D models, etc"... incredibly interesting.
Setting aside my point from above which si equally applicable to this
statement, I find it interesting that we don't hear many people
criticizing a paper book because the creators didn't take time to use
the media to its full potential. The designers didn't utlise margins, or
they didn't use color, or double page spreads or any number of paper
book features. Why is it assumed that digital media must use as much as
possible of its 'digitalness' (or at least its non-analog-ness) inorder
to cross some threshold of 'being digital'?
Its very curious to me. Somehow Elizabeth Eisensteins word (I find her
very poetic) taunt me here:
" When ideas are detached from the media used to transmit them, they are
also cut off from the historical circumstances that shape them, and it
becomes difficult to perceive the changing context within which they
must be viewed."
or maybe we can repeat them in a stanza:
"When ideas are detached from the media used to transmit them,
they are also cut off from the historical circumstances that shape them,
and it becomes difficult to perceive the changing context within which
they must be viewed."
(taken from 'The printing press as an agent of change').
either way they poke and prod at this issue for me, not in a way she
intended but I take inspiration from some other essence in these words.
Something that compels me to wonder if we have always been disconnected
from the book and never realized and all we are fighting for is our own
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