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Levi Montgomery
www.levimontgomery.com
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I'm not particularly concerned with losing humanity by placing letters on various kinds of screens instead of on paper. What concerns me far more is the death of that portion of the reading experience that comes from the things we see that aren't letters at all. When music moved from analog recordings to digital recordings, there were people who claimed they could hear the difference, and that they would never buy a digital recording. Since it is undeniable that there is a difference, the fact that I can't hear it says nothing at all about the value of their decision, and certainly there are people who still buy only analog recordings. Now the digital quality is being eroded ever faster in search of smaller recordings or faster transfer rates. We can see the same thing in videos, where the match-head sized pixels of some Youtube offerings seem to bother us not at all. Carry all of this over to the ebook world, where page design, typeface choices, page embellishments, and even such mundane basics as widow and orphan control are going out the window. "No one wants all that fancy formatting," we are told. "The reader just wants your words, your story, not the little oak leaf by the page number." If page design is irrelevant, then why have self-published authors been told for decades that their books are ugly because they don't know enough about page design? If typeface is irrelevant, then why all the animosity over Comic Sans, to name just one? It's not the loss of humanity that worries me, it's the loss of all of the non-letters art that is interwoven into every print book. I can only hope that as the technology matures, the publishers will put these layers of art back in, and that the readers will want it. I'm afraid, though, that it is going to be forever too late way sooner than we think.
Levi Montgomery is now following The Typepad Team
Dec 15, 2010