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Analysis: How technology is killing the book

Reading takes a new digital spin

Today's literature isn't only available on paper and web pages - tech enthusiasts are coming up with new ways to read. We look at what's available.

In today's technological society, the way we read literature is changing. And we don't just mean reading a web page instead of your daily paper.

Take for example, author Aya Karpinska. She hired a programmer, paying him to create an Apple iPhone application that allowed Karpinska to tell a visual story, with white text on a black background that makes the actual appearance of the words - whether blurred, twisted, or different sizes and fonts - integral to the plot itself, as you zoom in on it to follow the story through. Karpinska calls it "zoom narrative".

Karpinska is not alone in her endeavour to adapt literature to today's technology. Writers and publishers of all kinds are turning to technology to bring literature to the masses.

Much of the work to date has focused on transferring existing print books to an online format. Project Gutenberg is one of the most prominent examples of that. Founded in 1971 by Michael Hart, it has turned tens of thousands of print volumes into ebooks, making it the first and largest single collection of free electronic books.

Similarly, ebook readers such as Amazon's highly publicised Kindle are designed to replicate the traditional experience of reading a book, using technology to bring convenience to the endeavor.

But the work on this front involves more than just converting traditional printed texts into electronic versions. Writers and publishers are also using technology to deliver literature in new and innovative ways using, for example, RSS feeds and text messaging. And they're employing programming and mobile devices to develop new literary art forms, too, forcing us to reconsider how we collectively define the term 'literature'.

NEXT PAGE: Is tech redefining literature

  1. Reading takes a new digital spin
  2. Is tech redefining literature?
  3. Flash fiction
  4. Reaching your niche
  5. The $50,000 question
  6. What does this mean for literature?


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