Is Format Just as Important as Content?

By Deane Barker on March 21, 2010

The new rules for reviewing media: Kottke notes an important trend – media is available in so many formats now, that people are arguing about format just as much as they’re arguing about the actual content.

Reviews for the theatrically released versions of The Lord of the Rings on Blu-ray are mostly negative […] the reviews are dominated by people complaining about New Line’s decision to release the theatrical versions before the extended versions that the

[…] Similarly, the early reviews for Michael Lewis’ The Big Short are dominated by one-star reviews from Kindle owners who are angry because the book is not available for the device.

[…]  Packaging is important. We judge books by their covers and even by how much they weigh (heavy books make poor subway/bus reading). Format matters. There’s an old adage in photography: the best camera is the one you have with you. Now that our media is available in so many formats, we can say that the best book is the one on your Kindle or the best movie is the one on your iPhone.

Kottke feels this is completely legitimate:

In the end, people don’t buy content or plots, they buy physical or digital pieces of media for use on specific devices and within certain contexts. That citizen reviewers have keyed into this more quickly than traditional media reviewers is not a surprise.