a mag on your iPhone

A week or so ago, I posted a link to an experiment conducted by Ann Kirschner, in which she compared the experience of reading Little Dorrit as paperback, audiobook, on the Kindle and on the iPhone. Rather surprisingly, she came down on the side of the iPhone, largely on the basis that it was with her wherever she went. Having become a recent convert to the iPhone cult, I’ve been experimenting with the Stanza book app and largely agree with her. It’s not the greatest reading experience in the world (the screen is very small, for a start) but it means you have a selection of books with you whenever you are on public transport or getting lunch or whenever. It’s more suited for genre writing than literary fiction, I think, cos the format rewards reading small snatches in a context full of distractions: it’s better suited, in other words, for a strong narrative than a text where you’re savouring each line.

Anyway, Rob Corr just pointed me to Steampunk Tales, a monthly SF magazine created specifically for the iPhone. I’m not sure that the iPhone would work for Overland but it’s fantastic for steampunk, since reading on your phone inherently melds an old school activity with new school technology. Plus it allows the publishers to take advantage of the dynamic that’s worked so well for app designers: you can keep the price right down and benefit from the sheer scale of app downloads. Interesting times.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

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