Hyperparatextuality: Meaning-making in the digital reading frame

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In this article, I propose the concept of hyperparatextuality as a way of looking beyond the digital paratext to consider the distributed state of immersive reading in digitized and read-in-browser environments. Beginning with a look at the history of the paratext and its relevance in the digital age, this article considers the hyperparatexts of the HathiTrust reading panes in particular to explore the relationship between digitized texts and the platforms that house them. The concept of paratext and its evolving meaning in the digital age has intrigued researchers for decades as literary production, circulation and consumption responds to digitization and digitalization. Digital paratexts might include fan communities, digital editions to material books in the form of official and unofficial content, Goodreads and other reading-related and review websites, and Kindle highlighting tools. However, digitization introduces new reading materialities, interfaces and frames with buttons, links and hypertextual content. These 'read-in-browser' environments, websites through which we access digitized literary works, introduce new paratexts into the reading experience and require different concepts to understand them. When digital paratexts are also hypertextual, they operate differently. This article proposes some ways of thinking about this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
JournalBook 2.0
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • HathiTrust
  • digital reading
  • digitization
  • hypertext
  • mass digitization
  • paratexts


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