I took a look at Bieguelman's, "The Book After the Book" site before doing any of the readings for this week. I found the site to be confusing and with a number of broken links, I suspected that it was out of date. Ultimately, I was looking to find a starting point and then a listing of the different sections, so I would know that I had read the whole book. I left again in frustration.
After that experience I read "The End of Books" article by Robert Coover which discusses a class Coover lead in hyperfiction. The reading was quite compelling. Coover did a very good job of positioning hypermedia as something different from books - more over, something different even than e-books. As Coover says, "hypertext provides multiple paths between text segments" and so the reader is able to create their own narrative, which will be different from the narrative created by other readers and of course different from the narrative envisioned by the author (Something that Bush discussed when he talked about the Memex).
I revisited the Bieguelman site and it all became clear. This time, as I clicked the links I found myself relishing the experience of discovery as opposed to being frustrated about missing the story. I now knew that I had to create the narrative for myself and I had to be comfortable with creating a loop or with missing pieces of text entirely. This is hypertext.
I finished my exploration today by watching the Jay-Z Decoded video that Hillary had posted and the power of hypertext and the way in which it transformed reading and books was abundantly clear.
In the end, hypertext will not destroy or replace books. It truly is a new media. But, that does not mean that it will replace the old media of books. They will still have their place and their audience. Choose-your-own-adventure books were fascinating to read and disturbed the regular process of reading, yet many people still enjoyed to read narratives created by an author. This will continue to be the case. New media has the impact of segmenting audiences or segmenting spans of attention rather than displacing and killing old media.