The Future of Reading?

Not open for further replies.

Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
My entire life has been dominated by books—reading them, writing them and teaching others how to read them, including adults with literacy problems.

Reading is a joy for life. I feel sorry for anyone who misses the pleasure. You need look no further than the incumbent of the American presidency to see what it does a person's character if you don't read.

Whatever your opinions on the pros and cons of reading from a printed book or its digital version, I'd hazard a guess, that these days, even people who proclaim that they don't read books actually read more words daily than people did 25 years ago—thanks to computers and smartphones.

I'm currently on a cusp between going back into self-publishing and being traditionally published, should Hachette's The Future Bookshelf deem my Cornish Detective as being sales worthy. Maybe I should be feeling more uptight about the possibilities than I do, but my pragmatism and work ethic (where did that come from?:rolleyes:) means that I'm keeping my head down, nose to the grindstone and not worrying about success and failure.

Overall, I'm happy that people are still reading books, and it doesn't matter to me how they do so. It would be great if some readers were enjoying my books—as much as I do! In a way, looking at publishing, I'm surprised by the persistence of the traditional way of doing things, particularly from the stance of being a writer. Self-publishing an eBook takes minutes on KDP, with your first earnings paid two months later. Traditional publishing takes two years to accomplish the same thing.

In the 21st-century, people expect instant access to many things. Just look at the success of fast food, comparing the similarities to downloading eBooks or music files. Now think of traditional sit-down dining in a restaurant, a leisurely activity comparable to the way that publishers produce their books to be consumed. On that basis, it's amazing that books are still printed, that it hasn't become an activity for the elite.

But, there's a cyber hawk on the horizon, which may do away with the effort of reading eBooks and hard copies. A while ago, I made a facetious comment on the Colony, about books being injectable.

It turns out, I may have been prescient, for Elon Musk proposes that people have an artificial intelligence chip implanted in their brains:

Elon Musk wants to put an AI interface in your brain. Should you be worried?

Like any form of technology it will be advertised as being of benefit to one's life, making things easier and simpler—essentially appealing to the laziness within us—and, you'll be superior to those who don't have it.

Would you put your brain under the control of a megalomaniac?

I'm sure some people will be willing to so, ignoring the potential dangers.

It all makes me wonder what skills people will have in 50 years, as everything will be done for them, including thinking! They will be Borg.


Borg - Wikipedia

Staying on relatively safe advantages of having a chip in your grey cells, it would mean that a 'reader' could have books downloaded into their noddle, allowing them to spout forth quotes and information with as much understanding of the meaning as a computer or smartphone.

Picasso put things well:


If you had a library of digital books stored in your brain, able to access the information within them, would you be deemed to be intelligent?

I previously posted about how reading should be difficult if the reader is going to learn anything from a story:

We're already in a situation where people don't grow their food, don't cook it any way but in a microwave, and we don't make our own clothing, throwing it away when it needs repairing. Driving a car will no longer be a skill, as the car does it for us. Few know how to build their own home or how to make a repair. How many of us can do mental arithmetic these days?

I can do all of these things, partly because of growing up poor, but also because I wanted to know how things work to satisfy my curiosity.

The way the future looks with Elon Musk's proposal is that curiosity will be redundant....don't think for yourself, we'll do that for you.

How do you feel about injectable books?

You could finally get around to 'reading' the seven-volume, 4,215 pages of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu.

Picasso was right. They only give you answers, but what matters more is the question as the driver of advancement. And Elon Musk gives me the creeps. Never ever trade freedom for convenience. Tools. Fine. Great. But we're now the product. And for all the talk, we're still nowhere near understanding the mind, as opposed to understanding the brain as AN organ of mind. GOOD.
Last edited:
"The way the future looks with Elon Musk's proposal is that curiosity will be redundant....don't think for yourself, we'll do that for you. "

I find the notion that somewhere down the line, people will not think for themselves hilarious. One only need to create an account on twitter and witness millions parroting what the media tells them to, all under the guise of "these are my thoughts." That day has come and passed long ago.
For the last hundred years or more the death of publishing has bee cried out many times. I don't think it is going anywhere at least not in our lifetime.
Last edited:
Before you hit the button on self-publish, watch this. I was all keen to self publish after I published my memoir (on agent advice). It's so easy! At 35:00, he talks about practicalities of selling, David changed my mind, but he may convince you it's best for you.

BTW. Fascinating video. Million Dollar Ideas. He teaches you how to read the market to tailor your book to sell better. He taught Stephanie Meyer, the guy who wrote the Mazerunner, Brandon Sanderson and pushed Harry Potter (all best sellers). He knows his stuff. He's a bestseller himself.

Would you put your brain under the control of a megalomaniac?
How do you feel about injectable books?
for Elon Musk proposes that people have an artificial intelligence chip implanted in their brains:
This send a shiver up my spine.
Reading is a pastime I enjoy. Sometimes when I finish a good book I think "God I wish I hadn't read it so quick." Except for text books I can't think why you'd want to skip that.
Planting chips in ones brain (or anywhere else in ones body for that matter) frightens me a lot, and I understand the capabilities of these things, that is what scares me. Yes there are many good uses (giving people who have lost it their sight back for example), but there are so many bad things. Once the genie is out of the bottle, where will it end. The lack of any moral or legal control over the use of the technology is the problem.
And these people who head up these massively powerful tech company's who play fast and loose with user data, they're the ones promoting this stuff. Very dangerous, I say.
Not open for further replies.