'Reading on the iPad'

Shawn Blanc discusses his views on his experience with (and the problem of) reading articles, both magazine- and newspaper-based, on the iPad.

And so — perhaps intentionally, or perhaps unintentionally — digital magazines that replicate their printed versions are, in some ways, feeding on the mindset that printed content has a higher value and novelty than digital content does.

They replicate their printed magazines in digital format because they are trying to convey some of that perceived quality and value that historically comes with the printed page. The reader may not be holding a piece of paper, but at least they’re looking at what would be the printed page through the window of their screen.

Unfortunately, replicating print onto a digital format doesn’t best serve the problems of great user experience, sharing through social media, and taking advantage of the rich media possibilities our iPads provide. It does, however, appease the publisher’s need to convey value with their content.

It's a great read and I agree with much of what he's saying here. He acknowledges that he doesn't have a perfect solution for the content publishers because it's obviously a difficult problem to solve, but does put forth a few good ideas. I also really like this analogy:

Apps like Instapaper and Reeder offer more of a “reading environment” (like a library); Wired and The New Yorker are more like an amusement park with words. One isn’t better or worse than the other, but people who like to read a lot certainly don’t spend the majority of their reading time at a noisy amusement park.