Here we are at the start of a new year, and I have a new book, Summer on Earth, being traditionally published later this year. This is obviously a big deal to me. A new book isn’t the same as it used to be, though. Looking forward, our whole society is changing so that reading, or at least reading books, doesn’t matter as much any more. At least not the way it used to. There will always be hungry readers, and stories will always matter, but with so many new technologies competing for our mind space, and instant gratification the name of the game, books are becoming an afterthought.
People in general, and I include myself here, are constantly on their screens. We check our phones constantly for anything new coming in. Facebook and social media give us a connection buzz, emails are coming in constantly, ads for everything beep and buzz to get our attention, there are games we can play on our phones that are more realistic and life-like than the movies were when I was younger, and we are bombarded with information constantly. We have become a short attention span society. People still read of course, but they want everything in bite sized chunks, so they can move on to the next thing without investing much time in any one thing.
Books on the other hand, are immersive, but they need time to cast their spell. Once someone gets hooked into a great story, it is a form of hypnotism and they stay in the world of the characters as long as they can. A good story is always appreciated, but most people don’t read long form at all. These aren’t new thoughts, and there are still plenty of people who love books, but just some random thoughts.