Books are weird

So my buddy Mike Proulx wrote a book about Social TV. That’s pretty convenient since my job IS social TV. We got a few copies at work so I grabbed one to take home and read.

I truthfully cannot remember the last real book I read. Although I spend most of my day reading, I read code, documentation, email and web pages, but not whole books.

Sitting down to read an actual book on actual paper was a bit jarring. For one, I was taken by the lack of interruption. There were no animations anywhere, no ads, no blinking dock icons and no Growl notifications. It felt weird. Also, all the links are broken. 🙂 I felt like that toddler who thought a magazine was a broken iPad.

As far as books go, Social TV is about the most futuristic a printed book  can be. The footnotes are not references to other books – they’re URLs. Annoyingly, most of them are pretty long and have to be typed in by hand.

But each chapter has a companion page on the web site. I loved the tagline: ‘The second screen companion to the book “Social TV’. I never thought of books as having a second screen (only TV), but I guess it works even though my printed book is a pretty dumb screen.

The companion site also has a good list of videos referenced in the chapter and I watched a few of them. But again, it reminded me of how limited paper books are in the content they can deliver. Curiously, the book doesn’t include any pictures or screenshots either (which paper books do support!) that would have lessened the need for many paragraphs of text describing the look of web pages.

I was browsing Wikipedia earlier in the day and I found an error on a page. I quickly clicked edit and fixed it. A couple chapters in, I’ve already found a few typos in Social TV (sorry Mike) but there’s no edit button. As a matter of fact, Mike can’t fix them in my copy either unless he comes over to my house with a typewriter(!) and some whiteout.

Printed books are weird devices. If I grew up with them but they now feel so antiquated to me, I can’t imagine my kids will tolerate anything but digital books as they grow up.

One Comment

  1. Managed to read this book but my question is how will the studios leverage social TV experience? The book seems to be more from marketer angle.
    BTW I prefer paper to digital. The digital books have too much distraction.

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