Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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NY1 teams with contributors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Slate.com and Essence Magazine to review the latest books and book-related trends.

The Book Reader: Why Books Are Technology

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Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."

Will technology replace the book? People sometimes ask me this, and I tell them, books are technology. They're technology that has been designed to efficiently hold and transmit information. They're technology that's always changing as new ideas spread, like page numbers, italics, punctuation and color printing. The history of "the book" is no more static than the story of "the cellphone."

And books are very special devices. They're doors to new worlds, hinged on one edge. They're machines that freeze stories from the second we step away until the moment we return. To make time move forward in them, we have to touch the story as we turn the page. And if the story is a good one, it touches us back.

Right now, e-readers are little more than words printed on glass. But digital formats are new, and we can see hints of more interesting storytelling through apps such as The Silent History, a smartphone-based story that unlocks certain chapters only when the phone's GPS detects you are in a specific location. Or in Coliloquy's ebooks, which use reader engagement to affect the continuation of a writer's work.

Whatever a 'book' will be in 10, 50, 100 years, it will be just as necessary as it has always been. Because stories will continue to be told.

So go pick up a book. Cradle that device in your hands. Open its cover, step inside. A book is out there right now, just within your reach, waiting to tell you something, whenever and wherever you want to listen to it. Now that's what I call an amazing piece of technology.

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