iPhones, iPods, iPads, eBooks, ePistolaries

I’m really not an “audiobookaphile.” I never trusted any text I couldn’t markup with my trusted pastel pens.  But here I was on a Saturday morning, sitting in my daughter’s jeep, waiting for her to finish in the nail shop, with nothing to do. It’s our mother-daughter bonding time. When you are 50-something and she is 20-something, you take what you can get.

And there’s a problem. Lately, I keep forgetting my book! And there’s another problem. These days, it’s getting harder and harder to find a newspaper. I look up and down the strip mall. No hope. What’s left? Only my iPhone.

I do remember that my iPhone has iPod, iPod has iTunes, and iTunes has eBooks. What’s the selection? Since I’m supposed to be studying Leah Price’s Anthologies: the Rise of the Novel, I keep thinking of everything in terms of selection, reviewing, editing and “readers.” So couldn’t iTunes and my iPhone be 21 st century forms of 18th century anthologies? Let’s see.

I tap into the service. Good, I’ve got a strong signal – better than my memory. OMG! Jane Austen’s on here! Well, what else? A lot of horror fiction – not my cup of tea. What’s this? An epistolary novel?  OMG! Yes. After listening to a “preview” (another “miscellany” of “text” as it were), I select the “buy” button for Shafer and Barrow’s The Guerney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Now, I can read an epistolary novel, even if I can’t mark it up, as long as I don’t forget my iPhone. But I really miss my mark up. Price says readers reveal much about themselves and their character as readers in their annotations of text. It’s leaving the body in the text and reading with the body. Deep….That takes me back, or forward, to the iPad. I remember getting an email stating that the iPad would be released next month and that it promises to have an e-reader feature that I think will facilitate annotation.

Still thinking anthology, I wonder what will be the selection of works? How will it be determined? I think the anthology has just spawned a new form. And I don’t think Dr. Price wrote about the iPad as anthology. A future paper? A future book? An ebook?

Now where’s that email about the iPad release? Is there any info about academic discounts????



Filed under Commentaries

4 responses to “iPhones, iPods, iPads, eBooks, ePistolaries

  1. I’ve heard that the Amazon Kindle has a ton of great reading features, including marginal notes and highlighting. I don’t think you’re the only one who doesn’t like losing the ability to mark a text–something to do with personal ownership? With being able to dialog with the written word?
    Another great upside of the digital text: the search feature!

  2. lmaruca

    The ebook reader I’m interested is the Entourage Edge (http://www.entourageedge.com/). It is more feature-rich and robust than the Kindle, but more expensive and heavier as well. I’m holding off for now–I want to see how the field shakes out.

    As for audiobooks, I feel your pain. I have a long commute, though, so I choose books that I don’t need/want to mark up. I blogged about audiobook issues here: http://hotbookwsu.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/audiobooks/

    By the way, a good place for FREE classics is librivox.org, which uses volunteer readers. Yes, they even carry Tristram Shandy!

    Your interests make it clear that you should have taken my History and Future of the Book class last semester (ask Elizabeth about it). The syllabus is at http://hotbookwsu.wordpress.com/schedule/ Oh well, maybe next time! 😉

  3. yj

    Yes, I agree….I plan to hold out and learn more. In a quick search, I found that iPad will have interactive books and allow you to select the font — but nothing yet promising a mark up feature. One reviewer said this will be essential if Apple wants scholars to adopt the device. I also want light weight and the additional features that go beyond an e-reader. Someone has “leaked” a list of the first titles to be featured. It’s cool to see the interest this is generating in reading and books!

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