Look, Jane. See Vook read: on the changes to literacy of the new media

Interesting take from the Washington Post on a “hybrid reader.” How might it alter our experience of literature?

“Reading Vooks made me feel a little like a creative slacker. Maybe there was no point in imagining what someone or something looked like, if I was going to be helped along anyway.

“Reading has traditionally been one of imagination’s personal trainers, and while skipping from medium to medium might provide other benefits (catering to a variety of learning styles rather than just the visual reader’s), it might adversely affect the way we create our own worlds.

“Of course, some hybrid books’ companion activities seem designed to exercise creativity. Readers of “The Amanda Project,” for example, are encouraged to contribute to the site’s catalogue of reader-submitted stories in a sort of organized fan fiction compendium. Madison, the 14-year-old, says that though she’s never been what you would call a bookworm, the multimedia aspects of her uncle’s books have made her more willing to read other things.

“And Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book says that whatever assumptions we might make now about hybrid books, there’s a good chance they won’t hold true when the medium grows up. “Things like the Vook are trivial. We’re going to see an explosion of experimentation before we see a dominant new format. We’re at the very beginning stages” of figuring out what narrative might look like in the future.

 
“The very, very beginning.” 

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