DATE: May 5th, 2011

Almost everyone I know insists that they will never give up the paper back. The luxury of a tub full of bubbles, a glass of wine and a good book is etched into our brain and gives us images of ultimate relaxation.

When I won an e-reader in the early days, my friends were curious how I would respond. I read 2 to 4 books a week. I love fiction and learn many truths from the books I read. After all, the writer is the ruler of our society (Shelley — if you’re not into literature).

Barefoot is experimenting with new technology. We believe that the tablet represents significant changes in the way we work, play and relate. We can’t predict the crooked path the development of these changes will take, but we are doing all we can to open our minds to finding new ways to communicate.

So we have invested in a few of the new tablets. I have to agree with Amy Lee from HuffngtonPost who believes the e-reader is on its way out. The tablet is just a much better experience. I was a little worried about glare, but last weekend when the sun actually appeared for about 5 minutes I tried it out. It was great!

I think most of my conversations with associates, clients and friends have missed the mark.

In the 19th century we had the appearance of the novel. “Novel” meant a new way of presenting ideas. It was received with enthusiasm from the public and disdain by poets and academics. The paltry fiction of the likes George Eliot, Charles Dickens, the Brontes was considered romantic and trite.

For more than 200 years we have consumed popular fiction in the form of the novel, whether paperback or hard cover. For many people the touch of the book, turning pages, dog-earring pages, flipping to the best part, underlining and jotting notes in the margin remain the unique experience of the book. I admit, I always tucked a book in my brief case or bag. I love a hot bath, bubbles and a good book. But the “novel” is no longer novel.

I agree with Allen Weiner, VP of research at Gartner, who suggests: “More and more, reading is taking on a bigger definition. It’s expanding in terms of content– not just books, but newspapers and magazines. It implies the need for color, graphics, other forms of media.”

We are on the threshold of change. Digital technology opens a huge door to amazing reading experiences.

Like the innovative app on the iPad which lets the reader blow into the iPad’s accelerometer turning the blades on the wind turbine. Al Gore’s Our Choice takes on completely new dimensions and reading becomes a multi-sense experience.

The VP of Kobo, Chapters’ version of Kindle, is pretty clear that Chapters fully anticipates the Kobo device to be outdated quickly. Even though millions of people purchased the device in the past 12 months, they anticipate new generations will quickly change the landscape.

How will we, as advertising professionals, use the ability to produce content that engages many different sense and allows our audience to participate?

Historically, advertising has been in the control of the audience. Traditional media tactics like space ads, outdoor media, TV, video, brochures, magazines and mail all are created and controlled by the marketing team. The audience is is passive, not contributing to the experience.

We have a lot to learn about the new form of reading. Right now the reading experience on the tablet is still novel…. it will take time for the experience to be “normal.”

I admit, I am hesitant to take the Playbook into the bath — I use my Kobo for that! But I am delighted by the options the tablet gives me. This weekend I “read” stories to a couple of young friends (4 and 6 years old). After every chapter there was a simple, interactive game that was aligned with the story sequence. It was great!

We will never forfeit the delight of a good story. Digital tool just open new doors and encourage new ideas.

One Response to “E-Reading”

  1. Donna says:

    Power read many of the blogs today Gayle…Love them all!
    Now to make it a habit of just coming to ruminate.

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