Is Non-linear Reading the Future of Nonfiction E-Reading?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

iPad as ebook reader

Non-linear app “reading” is perhaps more analogous to how we really learn than reading a straight narrative.

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s feature story Kirk Bowe, CTO of UK app developer TradeMobile, explains how the company is attempting to create what amounts to a 3-D narrative on screens. In describing the company’s King and Queens app, developed from David Starkey’s book of the same name, Bowe says:

This is the natural evolution for audiences who wish to consume their entire reading experience on digital devices. The app uniquely marries an e-reading experience with timelines, family trees, and learning trails using the exclusive “BeyondTheStory” technology. Jump from an event on the timeline straight in to the narrative in the book, or highlight a key location in the book and be transported to the map showing where it took place. Everything is linked together and gives you the unique ability to choose your own path of discovery.

This type of non-linear “reading” is perhaps more analogous to how we really learn than what we experience from reading a narrative nonfiction book. E-books — and apps in particular — promise this future. As readers become more accustomed to these “enhancements,” they are likely to take them for granted. A plain old book that offers footnotes, appendices and indexes will begin to seem cumbersome and inconvenient in comparison.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.