How I Think I will be Reading my Books in Future
I am truly amazed by the way the book industry has evolved. I started reading at the young age of four and quite naturally, began with comics and magazines. So I have seen close to 30 years of reading. I cannot call myself a voracious reader but I won’t be surprised if my family members call me one. As my profession involves working with publishers of all sizes and given my reading habits, it was quite natural for me to wonder how I think I will be reading my books in future.
Printed books were the only option I had when I started reading, and as technology evolved, the reading experience also changed. For over 20 years I have always read printed books, and if only I had not given those books to my friends or the community library, I am sure I could have started a library myself – I had those many books.
Don’t judge a book by its cover is what they say, but I have always done that. The only difference is that I don’t just judge a book by its cover but also its title. If these two elements are convincing enough for me, I immediately buy the book.
This changed when I started shopping online, thanks to Amazon, which gave me an option to read a sample chapter. This way I could judge the writing quality of the book, which brought down the amount of money I spent on books.
While traveling (I travel quite extensively), I carry just one book with me, which unfortunately, I complete reading within a few days. Then I have to buy another book that would last me the rest of my trip. To overcome this challenge, I bought a Kindle reader, downloaded the Kindle app on my phone, iPad and also added an extension to my browser. It was so magical – I never had to flip to the last page I had read, even when I changed the device.
So, this is the present day reading experience for me and most others too. Although there is no major difference in the formats in which we read, be it ePub, iBooks or Kindle, reading on a device is the latest thing. Now let me fast forward my life in to the future by about 15 years and see how I am going to be reading my books.
Grey hairs and wrinkles; Oh my god! Is that me? Let me make peace with my future and look at how I am reading. I am wearing a device on my eyes, which looks like over-sized and box-shaped sunglasses. I casually flip pages with a hand gesture although there is no visible book in my hand.
What is it? Why am I wearing that device? How am I reading with this? Let me get into my future body and explain.
When I wear the device, I see a screen that displays all the books in my library. The viewing experience is amazing, the light doesn’t irritate my eyes. Au contraire, it is very soothing. I can scroll through all the books in my library, pick a book and open it, all with simple hand gestures.
Now, the book opens and unsurprisingly, from the page where I left it previously. It is a book on Indian mythology and the chapter describes a war zone. On the right hand side top, I have some controls. The first one says, “Read aloud” and the second one is a mute/unmute button.
I can hear the troops marching and suddenly an arrow swished past me, narrowly missing me. I had instinctively moved to the side to miss the arrow! The 3D surround sound is giving me a truly immersive experience as it is in perfect sync with my reading pace.
A weapon is being described and suddenly all the text in the book vanishes. Instead, I can see the protagonist holding the weapon. This image fades out and the text appears once again. The background of the book is a reflection of the location being described in the book.
Reading is no longer reading; it is an experience. Voracious readers will become addicted readers and non-readers will become readers.
I think this is how reading is going to be 15 to 20 years from now. It could happen much earlier too, and I think there will be features that are beyond my imagination.
Do you ever imagine what your future reading experience will be like? Is it an immersive one like mine or something completely different?
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