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The Death of Books, the Dawn of Publishing

“Have you read the latest Neal Stephenson book?  It’s called Reamde,” a friend recently asked. “I bought the book, but hate traveling with a thick book, so I bought a second copy on iBooks and read it on the plane.”

A throwback like me, I thought. Loves books, but doesn’t want to carry them around.

Nice to know I’m not the only person buying two copies now—the physical book that my optimistic side thinks I might really enjoy reading, and the ebook, which I actually read.  Since recognizing this pattern I’ve pretty much stopped buying the physical copies.

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The Beauty of Flipboard

I’ve been using Flipboard on my iPad since it was first released. It’s a fantastic application, and has won a ton of awards as a result. Apple named it the 2010 App of the Year, Oprah raved about it with MC Hammer, and Time Magazine called it one of the Top 50 innovations of 2010.

So what is so great about it?

Flipboard allows you to view articles from all sorts of sources. It’s a great way to view blogs, but it can also take your Twitter stream, or Facebook, or LinkedIn, and present those streams in a beautiful and efficient presentation. And it automatically resolves links; when your friends post a link to an interesting article, Flipboard goes out and downloads the article. In fact, this is pretty much the only way I look at Facebook now. It’s a great way to see my friends’ updates without all the visual clutter I don’t care about. And Flipboard curates a few channels on subjects such as tech, sports, and movies, where they aggregate interesting stories from around the web. Flipboard refers to all of this as a social magazine, in that your social networks actually find and recommend articles for you to read.

Above All: Style

But the truth is, I think Time Magazine got it wrong.

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