Platforms for Social Reading: Material Imagery in Digital Book Formats


  • Tully Barnett Flinders University



Ebooks, Ereading, Materiality, Interface


As a reading environment, the screen offers diverse experiences. Reading documents on screen both preserves the markers of textuality and radically changes them. While at first electronic forms of books unbound the book by removing material accoutrements and metaphorical paraphernalia, more recently e-book platforms have adopted the imagery of the material book. This, coupled with the new possibilities for social reading in an online environment, prompts a rethink about reading. Often seen as a private act, reading has changed as a result the social web. However, a successful and enduring mobile framework to combine, rival or extend the functions offered by these early examples has so far proved elusive to design, implement and/or monetize. This emphasizes not only the enduring power of print but also the connections readers tend to have with the markers of the material on and beyond the page.

Author Biography

Tully Barnett, Flinders University

Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at Flinders University.