Opening a book has been replaced by the erotic voyeurism of watching a screen.
by Don Allen
The innovations inside and outside of social media and the Internet have helped connect people to electronic devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a seamless endeavor to check an email, contact a friend via text, Facebook, Twitter or use a simple iPhone 5 Siri “dial or call” voice command to contact friends, family members and search the Internet for relevant information about anything.
Rapid growths of Internet communications have made devices like the landline telephone in the home a relic of the past. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, if you wanted to connect with something or someone, it was more than likely you waited until that person went to a payphone (another relic of the past), or arrived at a destination to use their house phone. Today, a voice command in a pocket-sized data transmitter can tell you everything from the time in London, to the next local movie showing of “Thor.”
Using examples that most people understand is meant to turn on the light switch of the mind. This is the nexus of understanding the evolution of the Internet and how a faster moving society can delete the printed novel exchanging it for the digital media platform of ebooks.
Once-useful items: telephone books, encyclopedias, calendars, note pads and the printed-paper novel have surrendered to technology without a fight now replaced by iPads, smart phones and tablets in a time when the world is moving at a very fast pace. The rule in today’s world: Delivery of information and access is determined by the fastest and easiest platforms. In all cases, the Internet wins. Talking into a device to make an appointment versus using a pen and paper for writing down your information was the vision of the original “Star Trek” series. The touchpad has replaced the human engagement of pen in hand. As quiet as it is kept, we now live in the world of “Star Trek” as it pertains to data sharing; the spaceship is optional.
Access to the Internet is affecting the way students and educators look at the genre of the printed-paper novel. The novel, for the most part has become extinct as the dinosaur, moving into the realm of clumsy and awkward paper relics. This damning prediction of a time arrived is part of an economic electronic evolution that will run its course and add to history its mark on paper text, especially the classic novel in a world that only likes to watch.
Just recently my wife giggled at the fact that she was able to read two books over a weekend. I was a little taken aback and stated it was not a big deal. When she told me she “listened” to the books via Audible®, (a very profitable audio eBook download website and son of the powerful Amazon.com), troubled, it occurred a decision must be made on whether or not listening to novels the same as reading the same novel in print? Is this the end of having novels on the bookshelf, with the exception of the Holy Bible and “Roots?”
It is clear – you do not need to have a printed version of any novel.
The new Xbox One is a fine example of how technology connected with the Web is making it very easy to sit at your desk, or on the living room couch in front of the television and simply “wave your hand” to download or turn a page via open-air motion sensors on your television screen. Advanced technology advances experiences – but it also creates an uptick in the lack of human-to-human personal connections. The Internet, like a politician, has an agenda, one controlled by the popularity and keystrokes of a trillion users. The Internet is a double-edged sword in that regard. Despite the negative ramifications being called out in this narrative by forward thinkers on the novel’s life expectancy beyond 2013, the Internet has also made it much easier for people to publish on demand. Traditional manuscripts bulk mailed at library rates cannot compete with the attach and send button of email.
According to WIRED Magazine, after centuries in which books and the process of publishing them barely changed, the digital revolution has thrown the entire business up for grabs. But with the shift to eBooks—which now represent upwards of 20 percent of big publishers’ revenue, up from 1 percent in 2008—every aspect of the existing framework is now open to debate: how much books will cost, how long they’ll be, whether they’ll be edited, who will publish them and whether authors will continue to be paid in advance to write them.
Writer Evan Hughes, in a story published on WIRED Magazine contends eBooks continue to gain ground, but the healthiness of the profit margins is unclear. J. K. Rowling’s latest book helps illustrate this bind. At a rumored advance of $7 million, Little, Brown and Company essentially backed up an armored car to Rowling’s house to pay her before seeing a nickel in revenue.
How does the medium of the novel and unpopularity of printed-paper literary genres affect college students? Read more »