April 21st, 2009 iLIbrarian
Steven Johnson writes about the future of the book for the Wall Street Journal in How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write. In this insightful article, the author poses that new devices such as the Kindle and iPhone are changing the way people read, buy, and write books. According to Johnson, books will become increasingly social and accessible, however this increased access may lead to dimished attention, books being written with search engine rankings in mind, and new distribution models such as paying per chapter.
“Because they have been largely walled off from the world of hypertext, print books have remained a kind of game preserve for the endangered species of linear, deep-focus reading. Online, you can click happily from blog post to email thread to online New Yorker article — sampling, commenting and forwarding as you go. But when you sit down with an old-fashioned book in your hand, the medium works naturally against such distractions; it compels you to follow the thread, to stay engaged with a single narrative or argument…
As a result, I fear that one of the great joys of book reading — the total immersion in another world, or in the world of the author’s ideas — will be compromised. We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there.”