On Hey, Technology Can Be Our Friend

March 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Technology, often feared by the bookish world, is a growing friend. As the mass market has risen so has the reality of a technologically connected society. This doesn’t just mean Facebook. Global communities are gathering around common interests online, just as intellectuals gathered in cafes in 1900s Vienna. They are gloriously beyond corporate control and naturally antipathetic to the reductive mass market. We are only at the beginning of this social revolution. I am not an advocate of the life led online, but as broadband reaches all generations, genders and income brackets, so this will develop usefully. It won’t be all of life but it must be a place where niche interests can develop, robbing the mass market of a portion of its control. Literature can thrive in these places.

So publishers must harness the great power of online networks through enriching reader experience. We must provide content that can be searched and browsed, and create extra materials – interviews, podcasts and the like. We mustn’t be afraid of inviting readers to be involved. Beyond online retailing, publishers can now build powerful online places to showcase their books through their own and others’ websites and build communities around their own areas of particular interest and do so with writers. The key to this is just to make available and to resist too much control. A year ago this felt like a world in its infancy for books; but now it’s here, and it is a mighty relief as it provides a new world of conversation about reading.

File Under: Quote of the Week

2 responses so far ↓

  • benny thomas // Mar 7, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Technology cannot be wished away. Since it is here to stay we may use it around to serve our needs. That feel of a book on a rainy day in our hands we may not duplicate perhaps. But suppose we get bored reading in the online book and we are able to fix it with adjusting the typeface or pulling in some illustrations from data bank that publishers can provide alongside we may fight boredom of the moment. If reading is to enthuse our spirits online reading can’t be all that bad. Only we need to decide how technology is to serve us.

  • Valya // Mar 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Interesting. I wonder what you make of http://www.abnabooks.com which came out of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.