Linear vs. Non-Linear Content: E-books vs. Physical Books

Original link:


When I was reading the rise and fall of cyberspace today, a sentence in it caught my attention.

When people read the text, they often scan the text quickly, find the part of interest, and then read it carefully in order, which also achieves the effect of random access. However, audio and video cannot be scanned quickly, and they can only fast-forward or rewind in chronological order to search for the desired content, which has a strong linearity.


And the concept of the music player that we are familiar with is just more convenient to switch frames

Modern audio and video players provide an interface for progress bar operation, you can select the playback time on the timeline, and have a certain random read function. But in general audio and video are still linear media, which can only provide meaning when they are played in chronological order, and the operating interface provided by the computer only allows people to choose the starting point of playback. The content of each frame in the audio and video is only related to time and has no other relationship.

The above description suddenly made me realize part of my own reading habits – about buying books.

I am a person who likes to buy books. I basically buy some physical books and e-books every year. I have 4 e-books and nearly 200 physical books.

The e-books and physical books I buy will also have a clear direction tendency:

  • Reference books, computer-related, mostly buy physical books, PDF
  • Social science books, biographical books, mostly Kindle e-books/WeChat

I bought the reference book because when I was reading the reference book, I would need to quickly navigate from the directory to a specific detail, and then jump further in this detail. When reading these reference books, my goal is to read quickly, then solve the problem and close the book.

In addition to reference books, I will also buy some biographies that I see in e-books that I think are good and plan to read continuously for a long time, and buy them into physical books so that I can read them at any time.

As for social science and biographical books, because their content is strongly related to time sequence and sequential reading, there is no such strong demand for random jumps, so portable e-books have become the best choice.

At the time, I didn’t understand why I made such a choice. Looking at it now, it was probably determined by the characteristics of the information itself.

This article is reprinted from:
This site is for inclusion only, and the copyright belongs to the original author.

Leave a Comment