The Evolution of Reading
I think it’s fair to say that the Internet has severely disrupted the traditional value chains in regards to how we obtain our media content. The value of content, starting with music, movies, TV shows, news and most recently books are being redefined for the Internet age.
I recently read an article published by the BBC News Magazine entitled “Page-turning Passion”, which details the culture of book reading and particularly how we have obtained and received the content from books.
In the 1640s, books were more than just a tool to obtain information. It was a “treasured personal possession, and object whose loss would be keenly felt. To their privileged owners they were coveted objects, symbols of conspicuous consumption to be displayed alongside paintings, sculpture and silverware”.
Over time, manuscripts were replaced with printed books. Noticeably, printed books lacked that unique quality that gave each manuscript its touch of art. After all, printed books were simply copies produced on the production line. I am a product of the printed book era and have thoroughly enjoyed reading. I reject the idea that some have asserted indicating that printed books are impersonal volumes. As a reader, we find creative ways to make them ours, by underlining and highlighting in these books. I can dog ear pages if I want to. I can rip out pages. I can draw pictures in them.
Now we have entered into a new era, the e-book era. If you have not yet heard of the Kindle, it is Amazon’s wireless reading device. The Kindle also has applications for most smart phones, which makes downloading and reading even more convenient and, unlike the 1640s, the Kindle is simply a tool to obtain information.
Rush, scuttle and hurry seems to be the ear marks of today’s society. As an urban commuter, rarely do we have the time or the space to pull a book out while crammed onto a subway. Now it is as simple as purchasing a book while on my way to the subway and doing all of the reading off of the smart phone while I am on the subway.
There will always be advocates against the growth and importance of technology, but as an urban resident and a commuter, if it weren’t for phone reading, I wouldn’t be reading at all.
Thank you for reading,
Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.