The future of print

I've e-mail Cory Doctorow a little about this once, but I think that print (magazines, books) are going to be much more varied in the near future. My future looks something like this:
  • You will buy a book or an article over the web, print is will basically be dead. You may buy a batch of articles (like you would a magazine) if you are too lazy to pick and choose - plus there might be a discount.
  • With high resolution computer monitors/laptops and cheap e-book readers, reading will be more enjoyable from a device than from a paper book. Imagine a e-book reader that weighs less than a paperback, is water-resistant can be read in sunlight or in the dark and changing the page is just a button push.
  • These e-book readers can hold hundred or thousands of books and articles.
  • You can change the font and font size of the e-book. You can even flash the text one word at a time.
  • What you read can be put up on you monitor, your living room TV screen, your phone, ipod or your laptop/e-book. This copying (if it's even that) an be done is less than a second.
  • You can easily switch from written text to spoken text. You will pay a little more if it's read by a professional, but the computer can do a good job and can read a little faster.
  • As you read or listen to the book the player keeps track of where you are. If you bus arrives it can stop and you can continue in another medium.
  • You can have it in the language(s) of your choice, when you buy Harry Potter it'll already be in 20 languages. You can even mix and match, for example - in a novel set in WWII the Germans can speak German, if you understand German, if not, they can speak English with a German accent, like they normally do in a movie. The same can be for the text. The reader will know which languages you know and how well you know them.
  • If you read an adventure novel where the protagonists are traveling around, a computer map will update where they are ("you are here") and where they've been. Most of this can be done automatically by smart software which reads the text and picks up clues to where they are from the actual text. Given a map (designed for the book) it can figure out the probable routes and even guess where they are if they are between locations.
  • Character descriptions can be brought up, also taken from the text that you have read so far. Intelligent software can figure out who are the main characters, and who are only bit players.
  • Some authors will write their novel to be played in a Quake like engine. You can become one of the characters and are lead around by the story.
  • Of course video games will still be around, and will be cheaper to make and distribute. Some of the games (like games today) will be somewhere between a book and a FPS, and in the future, writers will be able to make these games without a huge staff of programers and artists. These 'game' engines will be like a word processor.
  • Some technical articles will be written for people both knowledgable in the field and those who are neophytes. A writer will write the article once for their collegues and once again for a general audience. The computer can sometimes mix and match parts from each to get something in between.
  • Your reader will always have a dictionary and encyclopedia on hand. Based on context it can almost always figure out which definition is correct.
  • Just like a DVD often has the director's comments, books will often come with the author's research or prologues of what motivated them to write the book or create a character, etc.
  • Some books will come with Coles/Cliff's notes for those too lazy to read the whole thing.
  • These books and articles will be a godsend for the the vision impared.
I find myself 'reading' more books via audio books. It's not that I'm too lazy to read, but sometimes printed books are too heavy to carry around are too difficult to read on the bus or in the car (especially when driving). Also, it's a lot easier to pretend to be working while listening to an audio book, than with a real book on your desk ;-) And no doubt about it I spend way too much time online reading RSS feeds, and I don't see that going away any time soon.


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