Reading Workflow

The Reading Workflow
A few thoughts on e-book readers, tablets and my reading “workflow”
Photographers talk about a workflow in taking pictures. These workflows are different for film and digital, but there is a discipline from envisioning a picture to actually having one, be it a .jpg or a printed image. Disrupting that workflow can help spoil the process or stop it in its tracks.
Writers have workflows too, techniques to get themselves to write. Some writers use things like “Write or Die”, or they find time to hike and narrate their books into a recorder for later transcription, or they go to full screen mode for Scrivener. They have a process, a discipline, a way to find the time to get working on it. And to quote Mighty Mur Lafferty. “I should be writing”.
But what about readers? Don’t they have “Workflows”?
I was thinking about this in relation to an article on the Huffington Post that author Victoria Strauss linked to on twitter.
We live in an interconnected, media-saturated world, where it can be difficult to find time with the myriad distractions, to sit down and read a book, no matter what form that book takes. Web surfing,or checking e-mail, or playing Angry Birds, or watch ing the Youtube video your sister sent you, or watching last night’s Doctor Who on the DVR…
I bought a Kindle a couple of months ago. For me, one of the features of the Kindle is that it mostly *is* a dedicated e-reader. That’s a feature, not a bug. It can do a few other things, but its not easy or convenient to do so. If I am turning on a Kindle, I am turning it on to read more of a book. I am looking to get into my reading workflow.
But what about the idea of reading on a phone (Apple, Android or otherwise) , or on a tablet? If and when Amazon puts out its tablet, and I purchase one, if I turn on the tablet, ostensibly to read the latest book from James Enge, or Lisa Spindler, or Lois Bujold, or Gene Wolfe, the multifunction nature of the tablet threatens to lure me away from the book. The unitasking nature of a tablet is like the unittasking nature of a physical book. And I can imagine that for others, once such devices come out ,they will sync their work email to the thing, or be chained to other obligations that demand attention in our “always at work” mentality these days.
Multitasking gadgets are a threat to my reading workflow. And possibly they are a threat to yours as well. I don’t say that such devices should not be made, but I think they are a mixed blessing, as regards to reading books.