What's Old Is New

God Almighty, the e-book. As with every element of culture that has gone digital, watching the e-book happen is comparable to watching evolution in reverse.

Interesting enough, the graphic designers behind Steven Johnson’s optimistic article in the Wall Street Journal about “How the E-Book Will Change How We Read and Write” seem to have pinpointed the most deliciously ironic and utterly appropriate quote to describe what exactly the e-book hath wrought.

A future with book-scented air-fresheners, mayhap?

I didn't expect to like reading e-books on my Android phone and laptop. At first, I didn't. The screen wasn't big enough, I couldn't manhandle the reading receptacle quite so much, and more often than not I'd fall asleep only a few pages into a new book that I spent way too long picking out from the free section of the Kindle Market. And yes, I'm still reading Crime and Punishment a year later. But in the past year, I've found utility in this format.

The Shortest Attention Span

The relationship between ebooks and reading/ writing is changing drastically with new technological innovations. I own a Kindle. At first I was skeptical, but then I fell in love with it. Though I am a Kindle owner, Steve Johnson brought up many interesting points of information in his article, “How the eBook Will Change the Way We Read and Write” that I had never considered before. The most interesting segment for me was addressing the issue of creating a universal page number system. With the Internet, the URL acted as the unique page number.

From Gutenberg to the Kindle

Steven’s Johnson’s article brought to light the new concept of switching books and purchasing books so easily. He describes a personal situation where he decides mid subway ride he was in the mood for a different book and upon arriving to the platform, logs in and buys a new book for his kindle. This definitely changes the way people read- the accessibility of books makes it easier and more attainable for people to buy books, whether or not they finish the books in their entirety. Also, it changes the way books are written.

When everything is connected

Steven Johnson prophesied the end of being alone. Actually this has been inevitable since the first computers were networked together-- we are rapidly approaching a foregone conclusion, so rapidly, when you look at the history of human innovation from a broad perspective, that society is in no way prepared for it. Our infrastructure isn't prepared, nor are our laws, nor are our brains, but none of that matters because there's no stopping it. It grows constantly, exponentially, and it has really only just begun.

Impulse Buys

Johnson had some very interesting point about how eBooks are changing the way people read. With eBooks available on the computer, eBook readers, and phones, reading is truly at peoples finger tips. I have only ever considered the fact that eBooks make it easier and cheaper to purchase books. Johnson’s article made me realize that these new readers make it easier for people to stop reading the book rather than to finish it because they were “impulsive” purchases.

Short Attention Spans?

Johnson says that "an infinite bookstore at your fingertips is great news for book sales, and may be great news for the dissemination of knowledge, but not necessarily so great for that most finite of 21st-century resources: attention." He precedes this comment by telling us a story of how he left one book for another on a whim for fiction.

Resurgance, Death, or Stagnation: Literature in the Digital Age

"Just as Web sites try to adjust their content to move as high as possible on the Google search results, so will authors
and publishers try to adjust their books to move up the list.
What will this mean for the books themselves? Perhaps nothing more than a few strategically placed words or
paragraphs. Perhaps entire books written with search engines in mind." (Johnson)