Skip to comments.eBooks And The Future of Reading
Posted on 05/23/2010 6:04:05 AM PDT by mattstat
Warning: Raw Speculation Alert. You have been warned!
You are reading. This form form of reading will not disappear.
eBookswhether they be standalone devices, or merely apps on multipurpose toys like cell phoneswill cause the reading of short bursts of words on a screen to become increasingly common. The key is short: columns such as this already push the limit of most peoples patience (yes, the content, too).
The reading of book-length materialwhich is to say books in electronic or paper formswill decline rapidly. eBook sales will increase, accelerating over the next five years. With the closing of mall stores, and with the mega stores faltering, consumer eBook sales will overtake paper books within the next two decades. Paper books will dominate in commercial venues for some time.
Do not confuse sales with reading! They are not the same; they are only weakly correlated. This is also so for paper books (pBooks?), but at least the correlation with reading and sales of pBooks is high. This correspondence is not exact for many reasons: many pBooks are especially designed not to be read (coffee table and gift books), college textbooks lie fallow, and we often do not meet our intentions.
Many reviewers of standalone eBook devices whine that the screens are not color or that the devices do not allow for distractions, such as web surfing. Manufacturers have heard these complaints and have responded, and they will continue to respond. Standalone, dedicated-purpose eBook devices, therefore will become rare, forcing distraction-free reading to become rare...
(Excerpt) Read more at wmbriggs.com ...
The movie “Idiocracy” is our future. Lowering expectations will not fix things. I was talking to a couple teachers a while back and they were telling me that they gave up on making kids read books, and then they gave up on magazine articles, and now they’re just happy if they can get kids to read a paragraph or two.
The subject came up because of an email I had sent them (as part of a church committee we serve on) and it was obvious from their comments that they stopped reading around paragraph 3. When I asked them if they even read the entire email before responding, they gave me their lame explanation about the attention span of kids. I guess that was supposed to be an excuse for their own short attention spans.
The curious future is not what this author believes, it is usually something different and unexpected from the norm.
The computer was supposed to give us the “paperless office” and did the exact opposite.
eBooks will be interesting to follow.
Like online news, I expect some eBooks to premere on the scene and have changes made over time, leaving the original as either a valued collector’s item or as a forgotten memory.
Imagine someone writing an eBook and then, a decade later, running for political office. Will we see that eBook get ‘sanitized’ to avoid uncomfortable questions?
I am writing a fiction novel and finding it extremely difficult to find a tech savvy agent that understands how to profit from both media. The latitude of paper books that honest agents take a chance on has shrunken dramatically over the last few years.
Being an unproven author has made the print option extremely difficult for me and other potential authors. So, I decided to find a good English editor and sell strictly eBook format. I will use an on-demand print service for books for family and friends. It will be up to me to generate the online buzz.
The different electronic formats, copy protection of your work, markets to target, massive flood of eBooks make this task not for the faint of heart.
Writing has gotten scary...
Well, it shouldn’t be too surprising. For most of history only a few read, or read seriously. Mass reading will be seen to have been just a brief interlude.
We use filled bookcases for insulation in our house. R3 I figure.
That’s true, but we call the last time that western civilization did not have widespread literacy “The Dark Ages”.
It’s not about literacy, there’s a difference between being illiterate and not reading. I know plenty of people that CAN read but they don’t for any kind of entertainment or relaxation, they only read what they must for life and work. Which is probably why people bailed on your e-mail, you didn’t convince them in the first 2 paragraphs that they needed to read the rest so they didn’t.
Regardless of reading “skills”, a person that can’t read three sentences without wandering off is functionally illiterate. Turning all written communications into a one sentence “word bite” to cater to the limitations of the stupid is not going to create a better world in the future.
No, if they CAN read the words they aren’t illiterate, if they CHOSE not to then they just don’t read. It’s important to understand the difference, because they’re problems with vastly different solutions.
>> it was obvious from their comments that they stopped reading around paragraph 3 <<
Based on what I’ve seen lately, you seem to be describing an increasing number of threads on FR!
(Except that the posters seem more often to stop reading about halfway thru the first paragraph of the article in question!)