Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How Will We Read in the Future?

I’m with Bueller on this one.  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you
could miss it.” I feel that way about how technology is rapidly influencing the way we experience books. Within the past few years e-book readers have exploded and audio reading is on the rise. The mind can only imagine what reading will look like ten years from now. (Who am I kidding, the way things move, probably two years is more like it?)

What will it be like to read in the future. I brainstormed a few potentials.

Five aspects of reading I predict will continue to develop in the future...

My recently released novella, The Disappearing Key, portrays a teenager who is a synesthete (Oriana experiences sights and sounds on a more intense, comingled level).

Picture tapping your finger on a sensory button on your Kindle Fire that would enable you to smell the fragrance described or to hear the exact trumpet sound or song the author wrote into their scene.

Will readers be able to select alternate endings to novels? I envision authors setting up this option through different means. Authors could very well provide their work in stages. This is already taking place in the case of beta readers  providing insight for authors as they help them to refine the revision process.

Anyone who doubts the influence of interaction only has to look at the powerful sway reviews have regarding book sales.

Call me crazy, but I just can’t get enough of book clubs. I’m visualizing future book clubs interacting with authors not only after a book has been written and published, but even during the process. Similar to how Goodreads has a section for quotes and trivia, I’m imagining a reading experience with games, trivia, probing questions, and an Ask the Author section built right into the book.

I also wonder if readers will continue to play a more vital role as they have opportunities to create their own powerful reactions on Youtube, by developing and/or directing a movie version of what they experienced.

Have you encountered a wee little website called Pinterest yet? It’s only one of the fastest growing social media sites out there. Need I state the obvious? People are attracted to pictures. I’m willing to bet we’re going to see a lot of creative imagery in future books. I recently finished  reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It suited the main character to tell his story with pictorial depictions. My gut says this is going to become more and more common as readers crave and respond to images.

I know you’ve seen it, authors who write a book with wonderful descriptions of meals and then they have the wisdom to include detailed recipes in the back of the book. This is only a hint of what’s to come. I’m envisioning links to all sorts of local resources tied in to the book. Guides to cooking, listings of local cooking classes, tutorials, links to Youtube How-tos, etc.

I’m not arguing whether this influx of resources will add or detract from the reading experience, but I am guessing it’s something we’ll see in the future.

When I worked at Microsoft I remember sitting in on some pretty intense brainstorming sessions. People were constantly trying to come up with the next greatest thing.

Personally, it always has and always will come back to a good story for me. I won’t be looking for the bells and whistles to enhance my experience. I’ll try them because I’m open-minded and curious as all get out, but I’ll always hunt for a story with the power to climb inside my soul and nest there.

What about you, how do you think our reading experience could change in the future?

*I’m giving away FIVE autographed copies of my book via a Goodreads Disappearing Key Days Giveaways for the Holidays starting tomorrow at midnight. Make sure to check it out.
**Also, I’m visiting five book clubs this month that have signed up for my Key Book Clubs from Coast to Coast Contest. Please contact me if you want to involve your book club. (See sidebar.)

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