It probably comes as no surprise to hear that I’m a bit of a gadget nerd, especially when it comes to mobile tech. It’s bad enough that I should probably go to early-adopters-anonymous. I was in line for the iPhone 3G and would have been for the original but I was on a trip to Italy. And despite its shortcomings, I’m pretty jazzed about the iPad.
I also used to be a big magazine reader—huge. I think I’ve subscribed to just about everything at one point or another: from my Nintendo Power days as a kid, through my Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Movieline period, through the New Yorker and Wired more recently. I do still get Wired, but for someone who used to subscribe to 5 or 6 magazines at once, my consumption has definitely gravitated online.
So I was pretty excited when I saw this video, which combines the shininess of mobile tech with the glossiness of magazines. With active content and ads, and with fantastic design and layouts, I could see myself sitting with this for extended periods of time. And I wouldn’t mind paying a fee for it, either. When the content is interesting and delivered beautifully, I’m happy to pay.
This got me thinking about books, of course, and how this kind of approach might affect them. I’d love to see this kind of format used for a new sort of Choose Your Own Adventure, with clickable links that take you to different strands of the story. Or it could even be used for something nonlinear, a more experimental approach to story. There could be wacky children’s books, where turning the page requires some task–finding Waldo, maybe? How-to books could include video or short animations. I think the possibilities are pretty darn exciting.