|Memo to MIT Media Lab: Hey, How About Some Help Here?|
|Written by Jeff Koopersmith|
|Friday, 02 November 2012|
Jeff Koopersmith on the messy plethora of electronic readers -- and the need for a solution that feels like you're reading something.
There are over 200 million people in the United States alone that are inured to reading newspapers, cutting coupons from them, tearing out recipes from them, circling articles in them and more.
The element that electronic media forgets - heavily detrimental to its profits are two actions - "Flipping" and "Turning". I’ve been using computers since 1985 – the same year MIT developed its Media Lab. So I’m asking Joi Ito, the Director, to help me to not make as much of a transition as Kindle et al wants me to. I have an Android, Kindle, Kindle Fire HD, IPad, and even a new "Surface" from Microsoft. Yet, I’m still miserably ordering hard copies of all the magazines and newspapers I could choose to get electronically. I think whole bunches of other people are doing the same worldwide.
Dr. Picard, we’re just not ready!
While I agree with most experts in electronic publishing that the youngest of us will accept the no flip-the-page, and not feeling the current page as you turn to next, there is something in a couple hundred million of us - and in another 4 billion around the world that will not easily give up paper - or something very much like it - simply for a single screen that only seems to work for their children or grandchildren as a relaxing method to read, scan, check the index, and more.
I own a small publishing house. We are rolling out a new series of children’s books. These books will be printed and bound with "Heirloom Quality" which means they will be printed in full color at high resolution on wonderful matte papers of extraordinary paper. They will be bound in leather and gold-stamped, and will be put in beautiful slip cases lined in silk and have another multi-volume case in which to store the set. Each book will also come with an electronic version that is usable on almost any device should the owner prefer to do so someday - or even now.
The fact that we are publishing on paper and calling our books heirlooms is a nod that we understand fully that someday most of us who love and rely on paper yet, will be dead within ten to fifty years. By that time something will happen that will increase the ease of use of electronic magazines and newspapers. There is no question about this. If it doesn't - well, the living, it appears, will have no choice.
However, there is a 5 billion person market for e-paper that is the size of the New York Post or even the New York Times, and/or the size of Elle Magazine. So why do we see only these little e-paper manufacturers making little e-paper screens - THAT DO NOT FLIP OR TURN using your thumb and forefinger. Is each page so expensive that 50 of them would be an outlandish cost for most of us? I doubt it - because anything with a potential market for billions of people is almost never too expensive.
So here is the list for someone, anyone, at MIT:
I think that's it for now.
Later you guys and gals at MIT might add a paper that can talk to me if I am too old to read.
Oh, one more thing; could you make Plaper smell sorta' like paper?