The Future of Books
At the beginning there were papyrus scrolls. Later came handwritten bound books. With the invention of the printing press in the 15th Century books became accessible to the masses for the first time, changing the course of history. The first e-book readers (Rocket eBook & SoftBook Reader) were launched in Silicon Valley in 1998. November 2007 saw Amazon release the Amazon Kindle (Cost: $399). It sold out in 5 1/2 hours. We are now on the 7th generation of Kindle, the most recent offering being the The Kindle Paperwhite (3rd generation), marketed as the “All-New Kindle Paperwhite”.
Virtual lending libraries are now becoming increasingly popular. As well as Amazon Prime, there is Scribd, Oyster and Bookmate. More are set to follow these trendsetters.
Another recent innovation, that will inevitably become more popular, are ‘books’ that span different forms of media. In 2014 Rosetta Books published Find Me I’m Yours by author, artist & digital innovator Hillary Carlip. Described as a ‘Click Lit Novel’, it is a blend of words, images, videos, links and interactive elements, which enable the ‘reader’ to participate in polls as well as give their opinions. The story is about an L.A. based artist, employed at a bridal website, who has a predilection for cutting up two different cardigans and then sewing them together again (Why? – I don’t know why). One day she purchases a camera, which contains a video from a man (hunky Romance novel type) requesting to be her soul mate, but only if she is able to find him in time. A delightful pursuit ensues.
In the future there will be ‘books’ that will entail reading, watching, hearing and no doubt a tactile virtual reality element too. Each and every one of the consumer’s sensory desires will be satisfied. One imagines that this approach will prove to be beneficial in encouraging reading-reluctant children.
Mother calls down from upstairs to young son, ‘Darling, if you read up to page 30, you can play the rest of the book.’ ………………………… ‘Yes, there’s a monster’ ………… (sighs) ‘Yes, you get to kill the monster at the end.’
Whatever the future of publishing holds it should mean further good news for trees. As for us, whatever changes technology brings, there is no doubt we will keep reading. Even if a way is invented to directly implant knowledge into our brains, many of us will still read. Reading is cathartic after all.
I am the author of Charles Middleworth, Necropolis & Symbiosis.