My trip to Chicago was AMAZING!!! Unfortunately, I was unable to post while I was there. I find it interesting that inexpensive hotels have FREE WIFI but expensive ones charge an arm and a leg for access! I had to go to The Corner Bakery for breakfast because THEY had free wifi! But, I only had a limited amount of time, unless I wanted to get up way early, which I didn’t so, here I am updating my posts!
The workshop began with Keynote speaker and phenomenal author M.T. Anderson. He is not only an amazing author but a fantastic speaker! He waxed poetic about “The end of the story: is there a future in the narrative?” As with most things, there’s good news and bad news. Lets go with the bad first…get it over with. With the advent of ebooks, the book industry will never be the same. A major shift in the publishing industry will occur in the next 5-7 years with fewer printed books being published. Authors revenue will certainly be affected because most of their money has traditionally come from the sale of hardcover books. Even the way we think and process information is affected. With the decline of the printed book, the skill to decode a sustained narrative will decline. The reader’s connection to the characters usually forms slowly, over the course of the book. With ebooks, the reader can jump around in the story and, often, leave the story completely to click on an interactive link, chasing a rabbit down its hole. Maybe he or she will find her way back to the character left hanging or maybe not. Ebooks also help to advance short attention spans, similar to the way that video games have done. An actual neurological shift is taking place in our brains as a result to all of the technology we use on a daily basis.
Okay, there is good news…and just to confuse the issue, some of the good things are categorized already as bad news! Here we go: Because of technology, books are more readily available and many are free, due to organizations like Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org, http://www.archive.org). Thanks to Harry Potter, kids will read and enjoy astronomically long books like never before. The Fry Chronicles is both an ebook and an app, providing an interesting and nonlinear way of reading. Projects like Operation Ajax enhance the joy of reading with interactive historical graphic novels. E-Readers can carry hundreds of books but only weighs a few ounces…making is a necessity for traveling! Interactive texts are far easier to use and more interesting than the “Choose your own adventure” novels so many of us remember. Certainly glossaries have benefited…all you have to do to look up a word is to double click on it and the definition, pronunciation and derivative uses appears before your eyes.
Basically, the end of books, as we know them is still a long way off but not as long as we librarians and authors hope! However, fantastic authors like M.T. Anderson, Laurie Halse Anderson (no relation), Walter Dean Myers, and others will still write books. They still have stories that need to be told and so, we will continue to fill our Kindles, Nooks and iPads with their wisdom and their words will live on…in the pages of books and on the screens of millions of adoring fans the world over!