Nicole Nolan on eBook reading devices, today…

“With the advent of the touch-screen e-reader, books will take on a whole new meaning. Hidden Easter eggs will pop up when you tap certain words or phrases, moving illustrations will become part of the text […], and we may even see a choose-your-own-ending book that’s not really lame and doesn’t involve counting pages until you lose your place”

Pre-canned “static” interactivity will be amusing and perhaps even useful, especially an instant Wikipedia lookup for any word or phrase. But social features will potentially have the most impact on serious readers, especially if they can be limited to moderated “Yahoo Groups”-like forums dedicated to properly working on annotating and discussing a book in a way that is then embedded into the book. I don’t want every spammer and idiot crawling all over my copy of Robinson Crusoe, for instance. That’s the drawback to ‘social reading’. I might prefer to let moderated scholarly groups point to parts of the book that can be usefully illuminated by a factual knowledge of the historical context, and then explain why inside the book itself. Allow the group to add moderated annotations throughout, and allow me to slide these in and out of a screen tab, hiding them when not needed. Add moderated hyperlinks that lead to other books. Let me jump to non plot-spoiling “favourite passages”, as voted on by the group, to help me decide if I should read the book or not. A cross between a book discussion club and a giant semi-scholarly Wikipedia-style project for ebook annotation, basically, but which you can only access and unlock by actually reading the book.