The 21st century has brought us a plethora of new technologies and ways of experiencing old and new literature. We are given so many options with how we view our texts, novels, poetry, and even periodicals like The New Yorker or Vanity Fair. We have come to a very rough spot in publishing history because not only are bigger publishing houses competing with smaller, independent publishing houses. They are competing with computers, tablets, and phones. An app can be downloaded in less than 10 seconds and we have access to hundreds of literary works.
I find the 21st century world of publishing peculiar when compared to the 19th century or even way back when the printing press was invented in 1440. Back then, books were such a commodity. They were treated with value, some may say respect, and were the center of knowledge. Any literate person could learn, feel, and experience new things through the pages of a book. Now, books are treated as a troublesome task. On top of people not wanting to read, people have trouble paying $22 for a hard-cover novel. Books are becoming obsolete. Why would I go down to Barns & Noble and get a book when I could download it for free? We are in a pivotal point in literary and publishing history.
In an article by the Scientific American called The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens by Ferris Jabr, he talks about a video called A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work. Just the title alone evokes a strong message. In this video, a father is recording his young daughter pressing, flicking, and poking at the cover of a magazine trying to swipe one it as one would use an iPad or other tablet. As children are being brought up in a society where technology is heavily used, books are a thing of the past. As this girl discovered, the magazine was broken. It wasn’t her that didn’t know how to use it, it was the magazine’s fault. In the century, we live in, books aren’t what we used them for years ago. They sit there on shelves as a decoration to make us look intelligent. Many people don’t know the strength, power, and knowledge those books hold. They’re too busy scrolling through Facebook.
Scientific American article can be read here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/