Lucas Gonze comments on my post from yesterday:
“Richard MacManus is throwing himself into eBooks. A synchronicity is that I ran across an excellent bit of non-fiction by Phillip K. Dick which is available freely on the net and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. It’s not desk reading — it’s too long, and it needs to be read with patience rather than the half-attention I usually give writing on the web. It needs to be read after work, with a beer, on the couch instead of at the desk. Like a videoblog, it’s couch media, not desk media.”
Couch media is a good term. I also think of it as mobile media, because I make most use of my PDA on the bus and train. I spend about 2 hours each weekday travelling to and from work, but I optimize that time by reading blog posts and other content on my PDA. I don’t get anywhere near 2 hours of couch time per day (except in the weekend, when I’m likely to spend it watching rugby). So for me ‘mobile media’ is how I usually participate in the ‘read’ part of the read/write web.
I have to admit I’m not totally wirelessed up (if there is such a phrase!). I don’t yet have a decent bluetooth or wireless internet-enabled mobile phone… although I have a birthday coming up, so maybe that is my opportunity! So what I do is save webpages from my desktop onto my PDA, so I can read them offline and when I’m on the move (bus, train).
This is why I’ve never objected to long-form blog posts, and in fact I favour reading them over the short and sharp ‘shoot em up’ linky style blogs. As Lucas alluded to, long-form style writing isn’t designed to be read sitting at a desk. That’s where PDA’s and other mobile media devices (such as the iPod and the latest in mobile phones) come in. They’re ideal tools to feed us our daily doses of media, in whatever format bakes your cake.
For me right now, eBooks on a PDA do it for me. But I also think of long-form blog posts as a kind of eBook. That’s why I’m busy exploring the ‘eBooks as social media’ theory currently over on eBook Culture. It’s a new take on eBooks and also a new take on blogs.