Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading

In a post that conjures up Clay Shirky’s piece on newspapers, Clive Thompson notes that “We need to stop thinking about the future of publishing and think instead about the future of reading.”

Noting that “Books have a centuries-old tradition of annotation and commentary, ranging from the Talmud and scholarly criticism to book clubs and marginalia,” Thompson argues that existing commenting, mark-up, linking, and mashup technologies would unleash the social potential of books and increase book discovery (and sales).

The best parts of the post are the links to examples such as Book Glutton and an online version of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook.

I’m amused by the irony of Lessing’s book being used as an experiment in online reading/commenting, given that she used her Pulitzer acceptance speech to blame “the Internet” for a decline in reading.

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