In Drucker’s piece “The Virtual Codex from Page Space to E-space,” she discusses what it means to be a book in comparison to e-books, mainly through comparing what a book does. Utilizing multiple examples of strange books that behave similarly to e-books and vice versa, Drucker establishes three primary steps of how to create a digital book that still accurately represents what a book aims to do.
Drucker begins her piece by discussing the slow progression of e-book technology, stating that “the absence of an e-book with the same brand-recognition as Kleenex or Xerox” leads to a strange predicament where e-books are unable to evolve (Drucker). She goes on to speak about different companies that are able to solve this problem, and what obstacles they will most likely face when trying to reinvent the book.
Drucker then explains what features that a paper book has that are relevant to a digital e-book. She discusses the various books throughout history that are “strange” for a book — but for the most part, “this is a book whose identity is projected from its material forms, but isn’t equivalent to them” becomes the main tone that Drucker describes any book that strays from the norm and leads to the creation of the e-book (Drucker).
Drucker finally explains why developing an e-book based on the concept of what a book is will fail. As she states, “Individual subjectivity, the personal act of interpretive reading, is evident in this space of configured connections,” leading to the conclusion that each reader views books differently, and hence one unified experience from which to build an e-book is useless.
This piece definitely shows how outdate it is in the first paragraph — most of Drucker’s first point is completely negated by the Kindle, which is a household name as recognizable as Kleenex or Xerox. Sure, we don’t call all e-books Kindles, but it’s getting pretty close at this point.
I don’t entirely understand why Drucker is so negative as to the concept of a unified e-book experience. By using an e-book that is able to morph based on the reader, this concept can be circumnavigated.
Question for the Class:
How would one develop an e-book that could customize itself to the individual’s reader of what the experience of reading a book is?