As virtually every form of media from newspapers to television shows becomes more socially aware, the book remains stubbornly anti-social. Despite the rapid growth in e-books and the launch of a number of services designed to add social features to books, the act of reading is still a fairly solitary thing. Author and tech blogger Clive Thompson says he sees a future in which books become just as social as other forms of writing, with comments and conversations integrated into them or revolving around them — but is that what readers want?
Thompson, who contributes to both Wired and the N
ew York Times magazine, is one of the most thoughtful writers around when it comes to how technology affects us as a society, so it’s worth paying attention to what he has to say about the future of books (Disclosure: Thompson is also a friend). Although as a technophile he may be more of an outlier than a mainstream user, the Wiredwriter says that he full expects books to become more social, just as every other form of media has thanks to the web:
Every form of media has migrated online and benefited from conversation. The newspaper is broken into articles that get blogged and get turned into conversations. We’re at the point where the most interesting thing you can find on the Internet is the conversation in the comments on a blog after someone excerpts an article. I will read an article in the Times in paper, because I’m old-fashioned, and then I will go online to see what people blogged about it. Click here to read the rest of the article on Gigaom.com.