I’m reading a book of Cory Doctorow’s essays, which includes an article, published in Locus in 2007, called ‘You DO Like Reading Off a Computer Screen’.
The premise of which is that when people say they don’t like reading on a screen, they mean they don’t like reading long-form work on a screen. Which is fair enough. But Doctorow then says, ‘A super-sharp, super-portable screen would be used to read all day long, but most of us won’t spend most of our time reading anything recognizable as a book on them.’ To which I go, oh, 2007. My Kindle ain’t that sharp, but it sure as hell gets books read on it.
(Although I guess you could say ‘most of us won’t’ because ‘most of us’ don’t read that many novels or books anyway. But this article was published in Locus: the ‘us’ is readers.)
That statement is funny in a ‘oh, hindsight’ way.
This one is just preposterous:
There’s a generation of web writers who produce ‘pleasure reading’ on the web. Some are funny. Some are touching. Some are enraging. Most dwell in Sturgeon’s 90th percentile and below. They’re not writing novels. If they were, they wouldn’t be web writers.
Fun fact: bloggers aren’t the only people writing things over the internet!
I’ve had the internet since I was eight. For almost that long, I’ve been aware of (and reading) novels people have posted on the internet. Even if Cory Doctorow has never read fanfiction, surely he’s aware of it?
But I guess none of those 100,000 word fanfics are actually novels. If they were, people wouldn’t distribute them over the web!
Doctorow then finishes (finished – this was 2007) with the idea that people will only read free e-books ‘enough … to decide whether to buy it in hardcopy – but not enough to substitute the e-book for the hardcopy’.