If you’ve read much of our blog, you could probably guess that one of the things that the Cultural Insight team digs is books. So the ebook thing is incredibly interesting. And not just because it lets us feel less silly when we read Game of Thrones or Hunger Games on the tube. Though the ability of the ebook to ensure that a book never challenges one’s intellectual vanity is certainly a positive.
Recently LG announced that it was releasing a flexible e-ink panel, reported here by engadget. Does this mean that in the future we’ll all be scrunching up sheets of e-ink and stuffing them in our pockets while we run to catch our train? The question this raises is kind of a big deal for technology right now. When we make something digital, is the aim always to return it to something that serves as an analogue for the analogue equivalent?
We think it might be a bit sad if the future only ends up looking like the past. Isn’t it exciting that the Kindle and the iPad are genuinely different forms for us to experience culture through? Of course we are taking something of a leap from this faintly flexible material which, to be honest, does slightly smack of Tomorrow’s World. But having been converted to the digital reading experience, it would be a pity if books turned back into books before we really got a chance to learn what we could do with these things that look like they come from the future.