It’s been occurring to me that our old categories — books and magazines — are losing their meaning in the transition to eBooks and eMagazines. So I was interested to stumble last week on the serendipitous series of Twitter tweets below that nudged me to write this article …

Just as I was about to tweet this message …

ericrumsey: Difference Between “Web Pages” & “Magazines” is Getting Blurry http://bit.ly/7AmmsT View Tweet

What should appear in my Twitter stream but this …

doingitwrong: Worst thing about this piece: The assumption that in 2020 eReaders will be about the same as they are now. http://is.gd/5rEZQ /via @PD_SmithView Tweet

And the day before, I had tweeted this …

ericrumsey: Prognosticating eBooks – “What Exactly will Define a Book at the End of 2010?” (LA Times: @paperhaus) – http://bit.ly/4vL1JxView Tweet

The three articles linked in these tweets, on eMagazines, eReaders, and eBooks, have the common theme that the digital world is very much in flux, that old formats are likely to change in unpredictable ways. I think this is especially true in the case of picture-laden magazines –The experience of reading an article on the Web that combines text and pictures is pretty much the same, be it on a blog, news source, miscellaneous webpage, or part of a “magazine.” So I’d guess that “magazines” will fairly soon disappear as a category separate from other Web sources. The category of “books,” on the other hand, I think will take longer to lose its meaning – For now, the experience of reading a book is quite similar whether its in paper or online — The game-changer for the “book” category will be when eBooks become connected to each other so they all blend into the ocean of the Web.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Comments are closed.