The Digital Companion

The online journal to Offscreen — for all the things that don’t fit into the magazine. We regularly publish behind-the-scenes posts about the making of an indie magazine. Why not grab the RSS feed and follow along?

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Why does a printed magazine or a book feel so good?
I think about books and magazines as objects, and when you have a valuable object at home, whether it’s an artwork or a piece of wood from the forest, the object has a source or origin. If you take a book, we already know that there is an author, a genre, a style – it’s not just a platform for print, but an object with a complex origin. The articles, materials and images in a digital text are, in a sense, abstract – they have origins but those origins are not concrete. (…)

When you are offering high-quality creative materials, people need time to process what they are seeing and take perspectives on it. Print allows that because it is an object. But if you have it in digital form, you treat it according to the laws of the tablet or computer. Designers of touchscreen technology have deliberately eliminated many of the natural aspects of touch – whether it is a hard or soft surface, whether there is any friction – because otherwise it wouldn’t function as well. But it has created a kind of diminutive of human touch.

Some really excellent points about the difference in the reading experience between digital and print in the latest issue of What’s Next. You can read the entire article in PDF form here.

Thanks to Marc Vallée for finding the digital version of this. And no, the irony of it is not lost on me. ;)

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