Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on the Future of the Book

Types of Reading and Reading Types

Professor Martha Carothers.

Printed books in the codex format remain fairly traditional in typographic format and manner in which the reader traverses through the text. Textual media typically utilizes similar typographic methods yet the media structure allows for greater variety in reading styles. Reader comprehension is enhanced or reduced by how the reader is able to interact with the text according to their intrinsic reaction to the words on the printed page or digital screen.

Two differing modes of reading relate to deductive and inductive reasoning. The deductive reader is the continuous reader following in the manner of pages bound in a codex book. The inductive reader is the desultory reader collecting text while sorting through clicks and links in a screen based medium. The chosen journey through depends on the reader’s style and application of that style according to the content of the text. The typographic format of page or screen layout (typeface and use of capital and lowercase letterforms) also distinguishes between types of reading. Text bites of information tend to be capital letterforms while content reading of continuous text is most easily readable in upper and lowercase letterforms.

This presentation will examine types of reading and reading types through visual examples while considering the recent finding by Malcom Litchfield, “Current research suggests that users like the searchability that comes with digitized content. But print still wins over digital when it comes to understanding sustained, nuanced arguments.”


Professor Martha Carothers  (United States)
Professor of Art
Department of Art
University of Delaware

Martha Carothers is Professor of Art at the University of Delaware. Carothers teaches graphic design and book arts. She publishes her bookworks as The Post Press and has exhibited nationally and internationally for the past twenty years. Carothers’ bookworks are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Library of Congress, and Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry, Miami, FL. Her creative activity in book arts began at Penn State while researching the design, printing, and production of children's novelty, pop-up, and movable books.

  • Reading
  • Reader
  • Printed Books
  • Textual Media
  • Deductive
  • Inductive
  • Typography

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)