App vs. Book

I was biased. I bought this app with the mentality that I would hate it. In the past, I have enjoyed owning, holding, and writing in a tangible book. It was mine. This other “book” that I simply had to download on the ipad was not actually real. It didn’t truly belong to me. If the Ipad crashed it could simply disappear. A real book is not going anywhere. It can’t just vanish. It is concrete object.  So I began this assignment thinking, “Ugh. Is this really necessary?”

However, I immediately realized I was mistaken. Just opening the Frankenstein app and seeing the ominous image on the cover of the “book” made Frankenstein ten times more appealing to read. When I “opened” to the first page of the “book” I noticed that there were buttons on the bottom that allowed me to tweet about it, like the page on facebook, or control the volume. The notion of being able to connect this old book to recent technology made the app exciting to me.

The large font and the images made the book easier for me to read. I loved that instead of turning the page, all I simply had to do was press the bottom and the next page would rise up for me to read. The fact that the background to the text looked like old paper with staples in it made it more attractive to read.

Unlike in a physical book, you cannot skip pages. You can’t press chapter two until you are finished with chapter one, and you can’t press part two until you are finished with part one. The app is smart. In a way, unlike a tangible book, it thinks. The text isn’t printed, it is designed. I ultimately conclude that I like reading more from the app than I do from the book.

8 comments
  1. I also think the intricate design of the app makes the book a lot more appealing. The pictures and large font make it much more exciting and stimulating and layout of each page is very creative. I also had my doubts about the app when I first heard about it since I like to have physical pages when I read something. I think you bring up an intersting point when you say the app is smart in not letting you skip around until you finish each part.

  2. Is it smart that you can’t skip around? Or is it controlling the experience in a way that is not all that much like a book? And I’m wondering, Carly: did you actually made use of any of the social media tools?

  3. I would have to disagree and say that I much rather prefer reading a paper book than one on a screen. I found I got bored scrolling through the app and ended up skipping over a lot of the text because I wanted to answer the next question and get to the next chapter. Ending one chapter and beginning another became more of a game of scrolling and clicking. There is something special about holding a paperback book and turning the pages to reveal what happens rather than scrolling over it.

  4. I disagree with your statement that the app was “smart” in not letting one skip pages or see future text I like knowing how many more pages are left in the book to allot myself enough time to read it and to plan out the rest of my day. Here, I had to sit down and just read until I was done and that bothered me. Not knowing how far along I was made me uncomfortable and antsy. Therefore, I conclude the paper back book was more enjoyable for me than the interactive app.

  5. Carly, I think you did a good job in recognizing the different features that an ‘app’ book has to offer compared to a paperback book. You mentioned in your blog that the ‘app’ book does not allow the reader to continue, or skip parts, without finishing the page in front of him/her. As you clearly stated, this does in some way control the reader’s experience. Although this is a true statement, it is not entirely correct. As you read the ‘app’ book, sometimes, at the bottom of your screen, the reader has the option to choose the next ‘topic’ they want to read. What do I mean by this. For example, in Part 2 Chapter 1, after reading the section titled, “Now you need to find food, water, and shelter”, the reader has the option to read either “Lonely”, “Awestruck”, or “Indifferent”. Hypothetically speaking if the reader clicked on “Lonely”, that changes the reader’s experience of the ‘book’ and the sections that then follow. So even though you might not be able to skip pages or chapters, there is room to control your own experience as you read through the ‘app’ book.

  6. I found the app to be smart in a way that it was more interactive. Its almost as if the reader is Walton, in conversation with Victor. Although, i found features such as the design to be appealing, the app was unorganized in a way as you can decide to choose any question in order to proceed with the reading. In order, the app has to go back and forth to complete all the options and provide the necessary readings. Comparatively, the paper back book had a better flow as one thing led to the other and the story didn’t jump from section to section.

  7. I like this app too. At first I thought it would be boring to read Frankenstein again, but soon I realized that the story written in a different perspective is actually interesting. I get to experience Frankenstein’s story in first person point of view, but I can also experience the monster’s story in second person point of view. It gives me a sense of controlling the story even though the plot still flows the same. Also, the design makes the app a lot more appealing, and it gives me some great ideas about our final project. I think this app is helpful, and I wish we could have more opportunities to read like this.

  8. Although I came with a similar weary approach to the application, I ended up liking it as well. Apart from the application’s aesthetics, I think the interactive option was interesting as well. Also, the fact that it is more convenient makes it a more enjoyable read. Lastly, I agree that being required reading a chapter before going on to the next was great, considering how I tend to read ahead and ruining the experience.

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