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Out Of The Ashes Of Dead Trees - The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan - The Daily Beast


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Future of reading?

I would/will definitely miss the glossy pictorial lusciousness and actual heft of the Architectural Digest....

Because the heft was better than weightlifting for muscle growth?

Something subliminal.

I wonder how public libraries will handle this transition in such a way that the gap between the informatiion-rich and the information-poor does not get even worse. It's easy to forget when you have iPads and iPhones and high-speed connectivity 24/7... but there is a lot of America that has to struggle to get an hour of Internet time at a library.

It used to be that anyone with access to a library had basically the same tools for research, learning, and entertainment as the wealthiest of Americans. Now databases and magazines and newspapers -- and increasingly books -- aren't even published except on top-of-the-line electronic devices. I can't even get the Chronicle's football magazine because it's only published on an iPad!

Our world is made out of information. He who controls information controls the world.

I'm not sure about the future of iPad, but I'm fairly certain the future of Kindle is to give them away for free -- at least, to Americans.

That could very well give Amazon a monopoly on book readers if it plays out right.

Even now, the $69 for a basic Kindle is less expensive than a month of cable.

Once Amazon works out the lending and library models for the Kindle, it will change a lot.

Those top magazines, newspapers, and books will all make Kindle versions. It's inevitable because they want more distribution, and not everyone will have an iPad.

Adam, Amazon has done programs like this in some nations across the atlantic, with some early signs of progress.

Joyce's comment makes me think; I'm not sure I foresee an easy cultural solution, even if the technology exists. Physical reading is about discovery, not about consumption. That is why GOOGLE is so influential -- when they say, change how they rank search engine result pages -- they own the discovery loop for many, many folks.

I'm not sure there is any good reference point; some other forms of content that are digitized -- from music, to movies, to TV shows, -- are still essentially the same content -- watching something in front of a tube/screen/box/phone/projector.

Reading is fundamentally different, both in how we discover great writing, and how we consume it. I think Barnes and Nobles has struck an excellent balance, and I think Barnes and Noble is a model for libraries.

Partner with Starbucks, give every public library in the district, county, state free and unlimited wi-fi, and set up programs with Amazon or Apple to get digital devices in the library. I go to Barnes and Noble half because I want a book, and half because I know they have hot tea/free wi-fi if I want to get work done. Hopefully in the near-term that can keep libraries engaging younger folks in the information-poor sphere as they discover great reading material. Also, perhaps Amazon and public libraries could partner to provide folks with their devices and access to a slate of content, a la Netflix but at no cost through a library-borrowed or granted device.

Just a few thoughts.

For what it's worth, I think amazon does the best job of anyone of discovering good books; but I can go to the bookstore or library and browse -- or read -- a dozen books before I buy/checkout a book. Digital changes that experience forever.

Here's a study that says young people frequent libraries in large numbers:

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/young-people-frequent-libraries-study-finds/?hpw

"60 percent of Americans surveyed in this age group [16 - 29 yo] said they still visited the library. They use libraries to conduct research, borrow print, audio and electronic books and, in some cases, read magazines and newspapers"

A library is a great place to go when you just want to get away from the world for a little while, and go somewhere quiet.

And yes, they have good magazines and newspapers and they don't make you buy a cup of coffee to enjoy them. :)

Perhaps that number is distorted by college students? I mean, I think it'd be more interesting to see numbers of pre-college and post-college young people.

And for what it's worth, most libraries at colleges and universities DO have cafes inside of them. Universities may be resistant to change, but university libraries I think are as fast as any business to adapt to change (provide computers, etc.). I was considering more general population/non-university library population.

Here's a recent post:

http://sulia.com/channel/startups/f/6839813f-3d18-4f09-943e-5ba330ea0ac8/

"Therein lies the danger. Linkbait farms like Buzzfeed and Business Insider mint money, while serious long-form journalism is dying off. Great stories take great reporting, which takes money. Without subscription revenues, we'll eventually live in a world where there's no content except Reddit threads."

Chris, that's a great and very sad point.

It's good to see Tumblr express its desire to go into long-form, but I'm not sure they'll actually succeed since Tumblr was part of the movement that created this Reddit-attention-span-theater we now call The Web.

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