The Kindle, 2007-2011

My current project looks to map out the success of the Kindle from its initial launch in 2007 through to the arrival of the Kindle Fire, the first non-dedicated eBook reader, in 2011. I am building upon the platform studies framework developed by Nick Montfort & Ian Bogost to demonstrate that book history and platform studies converge with regards to eBooks. The study develops a three layered study of the Kindle’s success from the perspectives of technology, bibliography and sociology. Through this analysis, I will also explore the wider development of eBook culture and propose some initial steps towards a biibliographic framework for eBooks.

The Textual Return

Since the turn of the millennium, hypertext (most popularly known as links on the World Wide Web) has become a banal part of our everyday life and has been largely neglected in scholarly discourse. As digital textual media becomes more versatile and re-usable in a variety of contexts, hypertext once more has become an important facet in digital design but this time as part of the reception of text rather than a foundational part of the text’s composition. The current project proposes a framework for understanding the recent transformation of hypertext through the Literary Web hourglass model, which posits that hypertext does not exist as a textual artefact, but rather as a trace of the processes of composition and reception. Having established this connection, the project continues by outlining how text has become an important facet of digital culture since 2006, with the establishment of the commercial ebook and Twitter.

Other research interests
I am also working on a few projects outside of my primary research areas including the importance of the mythology of Marco Polo to Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, the reception of Thomas Pynchon’s new novel on Twitter, the poetics of gamebooks (contra Interactive Fiction and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books) and applications of digital humanities methods to the works of Vladimir Nabokov.

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