Vox: Gabrielle Bryden
Future generations will grow up reading from screens. This is what they will know. This is what they will love.
There will be a great choice of screens and content and they will be savvy navigators of this e-world. They will consider the world of paper books and newspapers to be quaint and slightly amusing. They will have looks of bemusement on their faces when their teachers tell them that people used to read predominately from printed materials.
They will have access to a variety of screens to read from (tablets, e-readers, mobile phones and other types of screens not invented yet). They may switch from screen to screen depending on whether they are travelling, at home, at work, in bed. Young people with good eyesight may be happy with the use of one screen.
People who can’t afford screens will be able to access public screens, big and small. Libraries will pay for the screens and the content; and the public will be able to loan these products. The general public will pay for the libraries if this is considered of public benefit (as it is today).
Everyone will be able to access novels, novellas, poetry, dictionaries, reference books, magazines, journals and other collections of words and pictures. The same screens will also be able to access social media (twitter, facebook etc.,) which in turn links to an endless variety of written content such as breaking news and celebrity gossip.
Future software and screen technologies will integrate the inflow of data in a seamless manner, ensuring the effortless exchange of information from screen to screen.
People will know about print media, but rarely read from a hard copy. Print copies will be available for some written and pictorial matter but at limited print runs, high cost and only for select ‘special’ materials such as art and photography books, and best sellers. There will be some small presses and independent publishers who persist with printing not for profit ezines and chapbooks of poetry.
Future generations will have never seen a newspaper. Breaking news will be accessed from twitter and facebook feeds. People will pay for the download of whole newspapers and magazines onto their tablets. Many people will get their news for free but quality will take a nosedive.
People will read updated blogs on a regular basis, as they used to read print magazines and newsletters, and will tailor their blog feed to their lifestyle choices. Mothers, fashionistas, foodies, home renovators, gardeners, lovers of stories, poetry and art, travellers, political groupies, environmentalists – there will be blogs for everyone.
Longer collections of words (novels, children’s books, collections of short stories or poetry, reference books etc.,) will be read from a screen. Many will be interactive, with videos, music, and links to further information. People of the future, with short attention spans, will demand an interactive experience (to match the entertainment level of games consoles, 3-d movies, videos and fast paced television shows).
Interested people will visit museums and select libraries to see collections of paper books. The elderly proprietors will tell anyone who is listening that paper books had marvellous hand held qualities and dusty smells that made people swoon.