Both of our readings this week talk about the culture of reading and the future of the book. So I have two questions for you as readers, pulling on your own experiences and all of the readings we have done over the semester: First, how have reading and books changed since you were a child, for you specifically? Second, talk a little about what you see in the future for reading, books, or publishing - say 20 years from now. Will we read more or less, will our reading become more interactive? What will happen to traditional publishing? This is a very free-form question, feel free to wildly extrapolate or calmly state facts, as suits your mood!
Even since my siblings and I were babies, my mother has diligently read to us and exposed us to reading, even when we were way past the age of reading by ourselves. I have treasured memories of my mother reading to my sister and I at night before we went to bed in our shared room. This listening to books being read to me probably is why I enjoy listening to audiobooks so much. We often visited our local library and checked out many books.
Because I was born in the beginning of the 90s, I honestly can't really remember life without the Internet. That being said, no one was reading much online in my area because most people were using desktop computers and cellphones did not have much or any internet capabilities. We had dial-up at my home out in the country until the early 2000s, when we finally got DSL and much faster internet. After this, I soon discovered different reading opportunities online, which I greatly enjoy, even to this day. When I got my first laptop, then later my first smartphone, I have expanded my online reading. However, since I have worked at my local public library since 2008, I often check out physical materials, from fiction to nonfiction and books to audiobooks.
Looking towards the future, I see there still being plenty of readers, they just read differently than we do today. Probably, these future readers will use more electronic devices for reading, and there will be more access to these electronic and mobile devices for people of every socio-economic status. I foresee that print books will still be available and used, but less than today.
That being said, publishing will likely move towards more digital releases of titles and less print versions, although I can see this change being long and drawn-out by the publishing companies who are set in their ways. This change in the publishing industry should make digital and electronic titles easier for libraries to acquire and share with their patrons, which is a struggle and contemptuous point today. In the future, publishers who only release print copies of their books will likely cater towards a niche market of people who prefer print books to digital ones.
I think reading will become more interactive, especially for younger readers. The digital aspect of electronic books allows for many exciting and interactive opportunities, such as readers being able to quickly look up a word they do not know and children able to actually interact with characters in their favorite book to help the plot progress. While this has the potential to somewhat take away from the straight-up "reading" aspect of books, it can also be a whole new aspect of crafting and creating books. Today's graphic novels and children's picture books are definitely not the same as they were a century ago, but I would argue their evolution brought something wonderful and new to the reading table. I don't see why more interactive electronic books couldn't do that, too.