Photo Credit: David Selby

What’s dull, uninteractive and made of paper?

How many browser tabs do you have open? I bet it’s more than three. And you probably clicked through to this article from elsewhere.

The impact of technology and the internet on the future of the novel is something that’s come under intense scrutiny at this year’s book festival. Speaking at an event this afternoon, Booker-winning novelist Howard Jacobson argued that the majority of the reading public no longer have the ability, let alone the inclination, to pick up a novel.

And he’s by no means the only author expressing concern for the future of the book. At this year’s Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference, writer China Miéville argued that readers will begin to alter books digitally and produce ‘mash-up’ versions of published books, emulating the way in which the YouTube generation remix songs. Whether or not this is an accurate prediction, it certainly raises questions about the effect of technology on our ability and desire to read.

Writer and broadcaster Will Self, who will be speaking at the book festival on 25 August, talked to The Journal back in May, expressing some of the concerns he has for the future of the book  “There’s something about having a physical analogue; it’s almost as if you are conscious of the other pages because they’re physically there.” Self worries so much about the impact of the internet on the ability of the young to read that he’s setting up a module at Brunel University to focus on this as a subject of empirical research…Read more

Photo Credit: David A. Selby/ The Journal

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