Home > Books, culture, world > People of the screen and people of the book

People of the screen and people of the book

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Lengthy article on the future of reading in The New Atlantis by Cristine Rosen

She speculates

  • will the book be around much longer?
  • what will become of the book and its related print culture?
  • Will “collaborative ‘information foraging’ replace solitary deep reading”?
  • Will “the connected screen will replace the disconnected book”?
  • Does regular reading truly benefit our society?
  • Are print literacy and screen literacy complementary capacities or just competitors?
  • Will a new reading class develop?
  • Should we be the master or the student when we read?
  • “What exactly is reading?”
  • Are screen readers more “users” or “consumers” and not “readers”
  • What can e-books do better than printed books?

Near the end of her article, Rosen writes,

If reading has a history, it might also have an end. It is far too soon to tell when that end might come, and how the shift from print literacy to digital literacy will transform the “reading brain” and the culture that has so long supported it. Echoes will linger, as they do today from the distant past: audio books are merely a more individualistic and technologically sophisticated version of the old practice of reading aloud. But we are coming to see the book as a hindrance, a retrograde technology that doesn’t suit the times. Its inanimacy now renders it less compelling than the eye-catching screen. It doesn’t actively do anything for us. In our eagerness to upgrade or replace the book, we try to make reading easier, more convenient, more entertaining—forgetting that reading is also supposed to encourage us to challenge ourselves and to search for deeper meaning.

I guess as long as there are printers, I will still be able to print my e-books so I can read them!

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