Sunday, June 03, 2012

It's all about the content

In recent years (and moreso lately) the so called "serious" readers have shown themselves to be extremely shallow. While I as a lowly SF and Fantasy reader have always been looked down with on disdain (because of course SF&F cannot be real or serious...), there is now 2 categories of readers that now rate lower than the hard copy SF&F (and all the other categories that the literati choose not to label real books) readers, digital and audio consumers of fictional media (as opposed to the hard copy consumers of fictional media).

Digital reading is the effective future of all significant reading in the country. The explosion of e-readers and tablets in the past 3 years has caused a radical shift in how readers now consume their fiction. But the die hard's argue that reading is not just about reading, but the feel and texture of flipping a page and smelling the book. To that I say BS. I have been reading electronically for over a decade (all the way back to using my palm pilot to read books from my favorite publisher, Baen) and all it has done is make reading more convenient. In my pocket or bag instead of having a handful (or less) of books I can have them all in one convenient package. One in which I can place bookmarks, share passages and easily conduct searches for particular items. But making reading easier doesn't seem to be a factor to those who fetishize the physical consumption of media via an anachronistic manner, and who choose to mock and revile those who choose to embrace the new system (in part driven by fear as they see a system that has been around for all of recorded history).

And then there is the lowest of the low. Audiobook listeners (or readers IMNSHO). While I do agree that there is one concept in audiobooks that needs to be destroyed, the evil abridged book. This is quite an acceptable means for a reader to consume (which of course is completely not different than reading) a story. Let's face it, we all have seem people reading in places where it was really against their interests to do so (walking, in dangerous environments), and this is the completely acceptable medium to reclaim that time while remaining situationally aware (I run all the time listening to audio books, but I never have it too loud and I always retain my most important sense, sight because of the audiobook). But apparently books must be relegated every sense to the serious book person, and somehow having the words delivered to your ears lessen the message. We will just pat them on the head and enjoy the boon of technology.

Sorry physical media consumers (aka "serious" readers). You have, as we say in the government world, become OBE (Obsolete By Events). Enjoy your rapidly diminishing world as the rest of us continue to get our horizons broadened. How you get the content in the end is irrelevant, all that matters is that you are getting the content.