Monday, July 12, 2004

Reading Online

In this entry right here, John Scalzi writes the depressing news that people are reading less -- but posits the happy thought that perhaps people are reading the same or more, they're just reading online -- rather than, say, books.

And, at first, I thought, "bull."  I mean, reading an online message board about Mary-Kate and Ashley is not the same as reading Hamlet.  There's a difference between the sort of reading that is involved in IMing and chat-rooming (that's reading as a proxy for oral communication) and reading something that displays some level of mastery of the art of the written word.

But then, I remembered something -- and realized our pal Scalzi might have a point.

Some time ago, I was playing what might loosely be called an online game.  But it was a game that had a very solid storyline that was played out before me over a number of months.  And when I reached what turned out to be the endpoint of a particular storyline, it was so moving, I actually wept.

And I thought, through my tears, "Damn, I really have no idea of the power of this medium."  Because this was the first time that I had been emotionally impacted by a piece of fiction that was, for lack of a better term, "internet fiction."

And then I found out who had written it -- and it happened to be a published writer -- so I bought one of his books (and, thereafter, three more).

So, there you have it.  Internet gaming led to reading four actual books.  There is hope.

1 comment:

annalisa135 said...

Although this may be true for some folks, and like you ~ online reading may lead to buying more actual books, I have to say that I'm still one of those avid readers that prefer the actual pages beneath my fingertips.  Yeah, I most definitely do some reading online, in particular CNN.com, as well as all my journals, and whatnot.....but there is nothing like curling up with a good book to make me one happy chick.  I hope my children learn the absolute joy of reading.  It appears they may be on that road.  I see both of them pulling out the books more and more.