countermeasures Waiting for the fluid book format
Page 12 ■ BY DAVID WEINBERGER they are the sole source for the books easy stuff. We interrupt our nice hier-
Books are complex. Let’s hope we read on their devices. They also archical outlines with illustrations,
someday our standards live up to them. want to make it difficult to move a captions, footnotes, asides, links,
We’d all like to have a way to book from one device to another, for tables of data and just about anything
move the contents of a book into an fear we might share it, the way we we can think of.
ebook and from there into a Web share physical books. For if there is It gets harder. Some books care a lot
page and then into a display suitable one thing we want the digital revo- about exactly how they’re laid out;
for the tiniest of screens and then lution to provide us, it is more designers spend many hours getting
have it read itself aloud to someone restrictions on how we use what we each piece in exactly the right place.
with impaired vision and then have buy than we have in the physical Some books are all graphics. Some are
it automatically decompose into world. At least that’s what we want comic books. Some are pop-up books,
daily blog posts and then reassemble in Sarcasm World. but we’ll skip those since there’s no
itself into a book, all without any loss Unfortunately, books are so dense conceivable way of replicating them on
of data or metadata. Of course, we’d with meaning that it’s a hard dream flat-screen monitors ... so far.
all like that to be done with nothing to realize. Even when the content of And what do we have? A Kindle
but open source tools. the book is slight, the structure of that doesn’t even know that it’s OK to
Not your Well, not all of us share the
dream. Some of the leading manu-
facturers of dedicated electronic
books is complex, and the ways in
which format reflects and manifests
that structure are more complex still.
break hyphenated words across lines.
An iPad that does a better job with
the formatting and graphics but still
father’s reading devices view themselves as
content companies, not as device
For example, we expect font size
to reflect the level of headings,
doesn’t take advantage of the structure
built into books. And we have an open
intranet manufacturers. They want to verti-
cally integrate themselves so that
although sometimes we use italics or
underlines. And headings are the FLUID continues on page 16
Ektron (ektron.com) has released
eIntranet, a complete solution for
intranets that integrates elements of Google Search 2010:
Ektron’s core technology and gives
businesses a powerful and trusted A