“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

I love to read.

I love to hold a book, turn pages.

I love to sit in the sun or hide in bed with a book and a cup of tea.

For many those of us that are bibliofiles it’s easy to cling to pages and negate digital and audio books.

So the question …

Are published books being overtaken by digital publishing?

‘Words-to-be-read’ are losing ground to ‘words-to-be-heard’ in this new      stage of digital content evolution? 

Shatzkin, M. (2018) Words-to-be-read are losing ground to words-to-be-heard.  The Shatzkin Files. Retrieved from https://www.idealog.com/blog/words-to-be-read-are-losing-ground-to-words-to-be-heard-a-new-stage-of-digital-content-evolution/

But it doesn’t have to be an us and them argument.

Living proof….

As a working mum I am time poor. When I pick up a book to read, on the very rare occasions that I find the quiet and the space, I usually fall asleep. Parenting fatigue is real people, enjoy your sleep before you have children!

I do have a fair bit of driving time though … and it is here that I can indulge the art of listening. Stories told to me as I drive to work, that make me laugh and cry in my metal bubble.

I recently listened to ‘Any Ordinary Day’ by Leigh Sales via Audible. I looked forward to getting in the car and hearing Leigh Sales tell her story every morning and evening that I persevered peak hour. The experience of the ‘book’ was heightened by having the author speak to me directly, her emotion and memory shared with me.

The art of storytelling and sharing knowledge began before books. Humans have shared stories and information before language. Books are part of the evolutionary chain of storytelling and sharing of knowledge. Once threatened by radio, then by film, now by digital technology and audiobooks.

‘Audiobook sales have doubled in the last five years while print and e-book          sales are flat. These trends might lead us to fear that audiobooks will do to         reading what keyboarding has done to handwriting — rendered it a skill                 that seems quaint and whose value is open to debate. But examining how           we read and how we listen shows that each is best suited to different                     purposes, and neither is superior.’ 

‘But even with those changes, audiobooks won’t replace print because we          use them differently. Eighty-one percent of audiobook listeners say they              like to drive, work out or otherwise multitask while they listen. The human            mind is not designed for doing two things simultaneously, so if we                            multitask, we’ll get gist, not subtleties.

Still, that’s no reason for print devotees to sniff. I can’t hold a book while I            mop or commute. Print may be best for lingering over words or ideas, but           audiobooks add literacy to moments where there would otherwise be                   none.’

Willingham, Daniel T. (2018)  Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It? The New York Times Opinion. Retrieved from  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/opinion/sunday/audiobooks-reading-cheating-listening.html

But wait, what’s that I see around the corner?

Virtual and augmented reality?

Come at me!

Because I can love a good book and enjoy all the amazing digital technologies before me. Can you?

 

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