Anything But Boring
"When I was a child, I had a book about an elephant, and it was actually cut into the shape of an elephant," Gold marveled. "The creator made the shape and the content so that they could both be simultaneously, not separately, experienced. … You could never put the elephant book on an e-book and have it mean the same thing as the [print version.]"
As a result, the future of reading will involve creating a deep, resonant experience for readers, with attention paid to all aspects of the vehicle, the content, the medium and the function of design.
Following form with function
Gold's studies into reading gave birth to exciting new technologies developed by his colleagues, some simple, others wildly futuristic. "Infinite Books" employ a hyperbolic browser that allows readers to navigate through a narrative structure. In one example, the reader interactively chooses the path of the main character, Henry, as he walks through different phases of his day and world. "Sonic Books," like the Listen Reader, look like normal books, only the paper is embedded with sensors that allow the reader to conduct background music for each page with a brush of the hand across the page.
"Spoken Books" were born with the Reading Eye Dog, a several-foot tall robotic-looking dog that reads text aloud to its audience. The "Very Long Book" electronically projects on three 18-ft. panels that reveal asides and additional topical information as the reader walks the wall, so to speak. "Very Fast Books" are high-tech speed readers that fire single words at a time, allowing the reader to control the speed. Other technologies, like "Deep Books," offer "fluid stories," whereby the reading devices enable readers to touch on key words, initiating text breaks and bends, alternative sentence endings, jokes, asides or more information.
Taking to the highways