The e-book and publishing industries were thrown into turmoil yesterday by a little noticed announcement from an upstart technology company.
Reeve Hobbs, CEO of tiny Kumquat Technologies, unveiled his company’s surprising new “R-Book,” which seems likely to leave current e-book technologies in the dust.
“Unlike the competition,” Hobbs said, “The R-Book is designed to do just one thing--to serve as the best possible platform for reading books. And it quite simply kicks butt at what it does.”
Current e-book technologies, Hobbs pointed out, are forced to make compromises because they are trying to do many things at once--be a reader not only for books, but also for newspapers and magazines; be able to surf the web, send and receive tweets, check blogs, email, facebook, etc., etc. “These devices bring the distraction factor of the internet into what should be the focused activity of reading a book. Who wants to be interrupted by their girlfriend’s tweet about this hot guy she just met, when they are totally absorbed with their own affair with the smokin Mr. Darcy?”
But the ultimate compromise of e-books, according to Hobbs, is in their use of a screen as their reading delivery system. “When it comes to reading, there’s been research available for years that shows that screens are totally lame. You don’t remember as much and you don’t understand as much when you read on a screen. Who wants to invest hours reading a book--and then not remember what they’ve read a few days later?
“It’s pathetic, really. Smart guys like Bezos and Jobs set out to re-invent the book, and all they can come up with is another stupid screen? It looks like that’s all they know anymore. They’ve lost the ability to think outside the screen.
“From day one in designing the R-Book we knew we had to come up with something better than the screen. And we have. The R-Book uses the best display for reading that’s ever been invented. Period. If you’re reading from any other display, you’re reading the dummies version.”
Then, picking up a small, rectangular gift wrapped package, Hobbs announced: “Here it is folks. The R-Book. The best reading device on the planet. Accept no second-rate substitutes.” Unwrapping the package, he placed the R-Book on a small, spot-lit table.
The audience drew in their breath as they got their first look at the future of reading. The R-Book. Printed pages handsomely bound together, creating a small, light object. A Real Book.
Real Books. If it’s worth reading...THINK OUTSIDE THE SCREEN.
--For more on the digital distraction factor see The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Published by W.W. Norton, 2010.
--For more on research into the deficiencies of reading from screens see www.ebookskeptic.net. The pages can be printed for better understanding.
--For help in finding an R-Book that’s right for you, see your local bookseller.