The Future of the Traditional

19 03 2009

With Google announcing in October 2008 that they have digitised over 7 million books  – the future of books looks set to exist on-line.

While I like to think that I attempt to embrace most advances in technology, I have to admit that I remain a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to personal reading. While I spend hours on-line reading sites, blogs and researching information – I still find that there’s nothing quite like holding a physical book in your own hands.

I recently came across Penguin’s We Tell Stories – Digital Fiction from Penguin, a digital project which wholly demonstrates how far writing has come in the digital arena. With one writer using Google maps to tell his tale, and another writer telling a horror story through a serious of blog posts. The future of literature is interactive and exciting – but will it impact on the quality of the content?

Readers will no longer rely solely on the words on the page to engage them – but now expectations will be set that stories will involve some form of interactivity, will be in original formats, and will even use user generated content – where the reader is in control of the story.

For an increasingly expectant and tech savvy younger audience, it won’t take long for readers to expect these new formats, what does this mean for old classics? While Google’s actions will ensure that most literature won’t be forgotten – will they stand the test of time when compared to the shiny new ones?

Digital has seen the shift of the most traditional aspects of our lives onto the on-line space, businesses, our conversations, our memories, our transactions, and the list continues to grow.

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4 responses

19 03 2009
thebeakman

I couldn’t agree more, I believe that the new technologies facilitate new ‘class’ of laziness, generations of young people who have to have virtual interactivity and cyber stimulation to complete the simplest of tasks, such as reading.
These people who grow up with this technology at there fingertips will be content with nothing less than having a book read to them, another ‘technological milestone’ is reached that comes at the cost of teaching people simple, important day to day activities…

19 03 2009
Renee

Yes it’s probably true.. I look at my 14 year old sister, engulfed in the digital mediums to research and produce her assignments, much like many of us spend our work days. However every night she curls up in bed to read a book (currently a Jodi Picoult novel). It’s the real thing. Paperback and requires that she turns the pages. There is a joy she gets from reading her book and from imagining how the characters would look and sound. A digital novel would not be the same experience for her. It’s like seeing your favourite book now on the big screen. You would only see the story from the interpretation of the producer/ director. The experience is different and to me would take away the readers chance to engage with the story in their own unique way.

22 03 2009
emmakatetyler

Definitely agree – how many times I have enjoyed a book, developed the characters in my imagination, then have gone to see the film adaptation at the movies and been so disappointed?
Reading is such a personal experience – I hope that these digital formats still allow the readers imagination to do some of the work.

22 03 2009
chillywilly

i agree with the creepy beakman, these unnecessary advances in technology are rendering our youth unchallenged and continually unsatisfied, although i do feel there is nothing to fear. Much like the poxy chose your own adventure fictions, audio books and twilight these fades never last, leaving the traditional paperbacks to always overrule and outlast. A true novelist will never succumb to the fraudulant tapestry of online books. Books are a commodity a tangible intrest that will stand the test of time. A vast eclectic collection of books signifies dignity, character and personal taste, something that a harddrive can never compare to. To be completly emersed in a book can instantly transport you from the stresses of your surroundings some thing a moniter could never do, also what better medium to pass time whilst traveling long distance then open a well thumbed second hand book passed on or swapped amongst a fellow traveler. So although the conglomerate GOOGLE has a monopoly on on any asset it tackles i feel the “big Brother” invasion will cease to conquer the humble book, it will truly be a sad day when local book shops begin closing as online pirate novel downloading sites become more evident, but i feel the silicon valley has no place in the written world of books and as long as there’s traditionalists such as yourselves this phase will never catch on…

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