Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Future of the Book

I can tell you the precise moment when I fell in love with reading, and with books. When my Mom read Are you my mother? by P.D. Eastman to me for the first time, she read the line "You are not my mother! You are a SNORT!", but she said "snort" more like "shhhhnort!" I almost fell off my single Sears bed with the sensible coverlet and hospital corners, in peals of giggles.

Since I learned to read my nose has been firmly stuck in a book. Yet I am not worried about the future of "the book." Paper has served us well for quite a long time, and isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

The "future" of the book is what excites me. The possibilities of engaging with the written word, the transformed thought, the flight of imagination, in new ways.

As I talk with our students it is clear that, while they are digital natives, many are still firmly in the camp of the traditional book. Almost uniformly they state they would prefer digital alternatives to text books, but for personal reading, many still want the book in hand. One student talked about the privacy of disappearing into a narrative on the written page, which is a sentiment I have heard from colleagues. And yet this student had never experienced an e-reader, so his opinion is uninformed.

This is one of the reasons we will be grant writing for a variety of digital readers in the next month. I sure hope we are awarded because I look forward to sharing our process. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I found this in my neglected RSS feed. Worth the 4+ minutes. Especially the section when they refer to authority and information. But that is a different kettle of fish entirely!



The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! These all sound really cool! It's interesting that with so many new technology tools that sound very space age like wikis and vooks, these have very simple people names like Nelson and Alice. I love your description of the reaction you had when your mom read, "Are You My Mother?" I could picture that vividly in my mind. Also, I love your phrase, "peels of giggles" :)

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  2. "Are You My Mother" is the first book I remember reading by myself in the attic of my grandma's house. I don't know if it was the actual first book I read, but I remember the feeling of satisfaction as I made it all the way through and flipped back to the beginning to read it again!

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