Visual Editions: an ebook with enforced attention

Here’s a neat one from the Guardian: “The ebook that forces the reader to pay attention” —


Composition No 1 is made up of 150 unbound pages, which may be read in any order. Each page consists of a single short text; it’s up to the reader to draw a continuous story from them. So far, so experimental. But the electronic edition shuffles these pages for you, speeding them past so fast that they become indistinguishable. Only by touching and holding the screen is the page revealed. Once released, the page whips away again and cannot be revisited until the whole book is completed. In this way, the design enforces – indeed, embodies – physical and mental attention. A fitting metaphor for the book in an age of distractions.”

Pretty avant-garde stuff. One might argue that such an approach is trading one kind of distraction for another, but, well, I do love experimental reading forms.

Their concept of Visual Writing is rather intriguing —

“We publish books that use visual writing. There is a rich literary heritage for this kind of writing and this very much forms the basis for what we’re setting out to do.


Check out Composition No. 1 on the Visual Editions website (the second video shows off the iPad version). And here’s the iTunes link for the iPad edition.

The Visual Edition Tristram Shandy looks awesome, by the way.

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