The sameness is safe.
A recent Publisher’s Weekly article talked about this and the comments were really telling. Thus, reading book after book gets tiring if every story seems just like the last.
At the same time, my reading hasn’t stopped. I'm addicted to publishing related news sites like Pub Weekly, Huffington Post’s publishing section, blogs like Teleread, Booksquare and my new favorite podcast On the Media. I read tons of things on the internet and some great fiction from my fellow author friends who look for crits. But pleasure reading as I used to do as a kid has changed dramatically with the new changes.
It got me thinking about the future of the book. There’s no doubt that things are changing in the industry and it seems like it all charged ahead in just the last few months. With this generation’s e-readers fast becoming the new “it” toy of this year’s Christmas rush, a new trend in reading will begin.
What else will change? As things become even faster paced, I wonder how our reading will change. It’s already been said that the next generation of e-readers will be nothing like this generation’s. Will we see readers than can double as audio books? Barnes & Noble's nook is in high demand so much that orders are on hold. Amazon's Kindle and Sony's eReader continues to be popular among ebook lovers. The Vook (yes, a portmanteau for “video” and “book”) recently launched with the iPhone and as a web version. I’m not sure I, as a reader, would jive with this because of the fact that I use different neurons for watching tv than I do for reading a book, but I’m sure an audience is out there somewhere. Netbooks, tablets (Apple, do you have something up your sleeve over there?) and the continued sophistication of cell phones are becoming strong competitors for ebook devices. All of this, along with my own current experience, makes me believe that there still are a bunch of people reading in some way or another. Just maybe not books and not in the numbers they used to, which is a bummer.
(In considering all of this, one small part of me muses over the fact that everyone is preoccupied with how the books will be read rather than trying to get more folks to focus on telling a darn good story. But I digress.)
Social networking sites like Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThing are bridging the gap between authors and their readers so instant feedback on newly released works are immediate along with excerpts giveaways and other reader goodies. Reading has become a community focus again. Maybe we'll see a surge of reading groups with youths. Laptops are being given to some school kids in Canadian schools and ebook readers are being handed out in others, both with the curriculum's books inside. We know how we're going to read. Maybe we can now focus on what to read and how to bring those to readers.
Bob Stein of The Institute for the Future introduces his view of how things will be once the shift occurs.
Do you see your reading habits changing in the near future? Any future e-readers on the list who have one of the gadgets on their wishlist?