“Things flow about so,” complained a plaintive Alice in the Sheep Shop in Alice Through the Looking Glass. And so do the illustrations in the books published in Kindle in Motion.
Kindle in Motion has been around since the summer of 2016 but, perhaps surprisingly, it has attracted comparatively little publicity. This may be due, in some part, to the limited number of titles available that include the feature: just seven at the time of launch, and only a couple of hundred now. However, the recently launched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with animated illustrations by Jim Kay may open the flood gates.
Used well, as is the case in the Harry Potter book, the animation provides a subtle, atmospheric––and sometimes unsettling––addition to the reading experience. There is a danger, however, that readers may find the animated elements a distraction, or even a gimmick, although a solution is at hand in that eventuality: they can simply be turned off.
These technological advancements––or enhancements––to the written word begin to blur the boundaries between print and media; books and movies. Where is the tipping point where the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book morphs into the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone film?
At the moment, the distinction is clear, but Kindle in Motion may represent a sfumato moment; a blurring of the edges between one genre and another; the transition between realism and impressionism. Or between imagination and realisation.
Whether you will be worried by this development will depend on which side of the imagination divide you stand.
© Fergus Longfellow
Fergus Longfellow attempts to straddle the imagination divide.