New Ways to Read


You’ve heard it all before. Startups, new websites, and even big powerhouses are all developing technology to disrupt how we collaborate, publish, and read. Today I want to focus on all the new ways we can read and absorb content. Sure, there are e-books, and there are even enhanced e-books with videos, but I’ve compiled a list of sources that have created either new ways to organize content, interpret content, or take in/learn content.

E-Books/E-reading Devices


Readlist is a site that lets you mash up any content you find online–articles, recipes, course materials, etc.–and bundle it into an e-book to read on your reading device. This means you can create your own books centered around topics that interest you, and keep it for your personal use.

New Kindle Features

Amazon keeps pushing out new features for Kindle. Most recently, the company patented “DVD Extras for E-Books.” This means that theoretically, Kindle books can be enhanced with additional personalized content, such as expanded storylines for certain characters. It would be personalized because readers could choose which content creator to follow, and they will only be notified of content they have expressed interest in. Last year, Amazon announced the X-ray feature. According to a great post by Joseph Esposito, X-ray provides additional information about an e-book. From my own personal use, I’ve seen it provide definitions to certain terms that are repeated in the text, as well as links to external websites where applicable. To me, it seems very similar to Marvin, a reading app for iPad. Amazon also pushed out Immersion Reading and Whispersync for Voice last year, according to Books on Books, where “Immersion Reading synchronizes your ebook with your audiobook.”


Sourcebooks is one of the more experimental publishing companies. They do A/B testing for covers and some agile publishing, and now they are focusing on making Shakespeare more accessible and enjoyable for students. Using iBooks, they have turned Shakespeare’s plays into basically an app, with audio, video, photos, and illustrations.

Web Reading and Interactive Media

Kafka’s Wound

This amazing interactive digital essay by Will Self combines annotations, videos, and more in clickable links. The essay itself is meant to be an association of ideas, which is wonderfully illustrated with the moving collection of images at the top of the site that looks like a mind map.

The Scale of the Universe 2

Another amazing, interactive website. You can learn about the universe by zooming in and out of the screen, where you will see different images related to or within each other. Click on an image and some text will pop up to explain the object or creature it represents.

A Timeline of Information History

Although this is another great interactive site, it may be more interesting to those who care about writing and books. Scroll through a timeline and see when certain technologies were invented and what they led to. Click on the graphics to learn the exact dates and definitions.

Hobo Lobo of Hamlin

This site is kind of like a living story. Updates happen about once a month, and it’s a story translated in French and Spanish created in parts. You can scroll through the parts to read more of the story, and each section of text is accompanied by constantly updated images. According to the site, it’s made in Photoshop CS3 and CS5.

Outside the Lines

A scrolling, interactive, beautiful article about Dock Ellis. Published by ESPN, it uses the curtain.js script.


According to the site, it’s an “oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, from 1980 to the present.” Scroll through the essay, link to related articles, and interact with in-depth interviews.

Reshaping New York

An interactive graphic/essay that shows how New York City has changed while Bloomberg has been mayor.


A little different from the other sites in this section, because it’s not focused on one particular topic but instead is a way to create interactive media.

New Interpretations of Text

If Hemingway wrote JavaScript

A clever article that translates Hemingway, Shakespeare, Breton, Bolano, and Dickens into JavaScript. Take a look, it’s very interesting.

If Kerouac wrote JavaScript (and Dr Johnson wrote CoffeeScript)

Another translation of text into JavaScript, this time featuring Kerouac, Johnson, Joyce, Feynman, Doyle, Austen, and more Hemingway.

Other Creative Uses

Barefoot into Cyberspace

The link is for a specific story, but it uses technology that allows readers to annotate and share their comments. It makes reading social in a way that anyone can connect.

Ireland’s New Stamp

This one is just cool to look at. Ireland printed a stamp that fit a 224 word short story, written by a 17-year-old.

Three Panel Book Review

The name says it all. A very clever and entertaining book review site, that shows a review/summary of a book in three comic panels. Currently most of the comics are for public domain books.


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