How have reading and books changed since you were a child?
First, I think that there is a much greater variety than when I was a child. Audiobooks are becoming more popular. There has been a rise in graphic novels. What graphic novels include has expanded. Graphic novels used to mean super hero comic books. While that is still very true, there are also full length novels. There are adaptations of typical novels. There are nonfiction graphic novels. The variety and availability is astounding. There are also ebooks now. You can get ebooks from a variety of vendors and read them on a variety of devices. They are also more accessible. Not only in terms of being able to get them, but also in the sense that people with disabilities have more options. There are applications that will read text on a page. You can enlarge the font on many devices. Some even let you change the background color. You have the ability to look up a word right there in your device rather than having to run to the dictionary (if people even keep those in their homes anymore). The sheer amount of ways that people can read and obtain books has grown.
Second, I think book use in schools has changed a lot. Over the last three years, I have held various positions in elementary and middle schools. When I was in school, we were always reading a book together as a class. It allowed us to discuss the book. It allowed students with a lower reading level to still be able to enjoy the book. It helped to show students that reading can be very enjoyable. It seems that most schools and classrooms have lost that. The amount of testing that takes place has grown. The importance of standards has made it so that reading as a class is more of a luxury in most cases. This means that the students are expected to read more on their own. I think that his means less students ultimately read or listen to a book. I think that it means that the discussion of novels has decreased and the variety of books that students are exposed to has lessened. I am afraid that this results in less lifelong readers. Maybe that is just me being paranoid, though.
What do you see for reading, books, and publishing in the future?
Unless the way our school systems are evaluated changes, I don't see the use of reading and books in schools changing much. I think that it is a result of our focus on standardized testing that has caused this. I really hope that doesn't mean that less children will grow up reading frequently, but it is a possibility.
I think that there will always be people that read and people that don't. It is a personal preference. I would like to think that the variety of ways to read will get more people involved in reading, but that may not necessarily be the case. If you aren't looking at books in general, you aren't going to pay attention when the formats of books change. There will always be some fluctuation, but I don't think there will ever be a time when reading is in danger. With the amount of public libraries, publishing companies, authors, and reading advocates, there is no way that books will get set aside altogether.
I think that it is very possible that the format and variety of books will continue to grow. How can it not? As we as a society grow and change and learn new things so do our ways to communicate with each and express our ideas and feelings. How they will change is a mystery, but I do believe that change and expansion are inevitable. I don't think the typical, physical format will ever be done away with, but there will be other options besides what we have today. People like the variety.