How Technology Changed Reading

With many of us having spent at least the last two months quarantined at home, many readers have turned to technology to satiate their reading addiction more than ever before. Even those who were not big readers before may have found themselves reading more and more.

So I thought now would be a perfect time to muse how technology has changed reading, in several ways.

Reading Formats

The most obvious change technology has brought to reading is the different formats. Whether it is Ebooks or audiobooks, people who once had little to no access to books (perhaps because they are traveling a lot or have dyslexia which makes it difficult for them to read) now have access to millions of books on their phones or laptops. You can own a hundred books and not have to find a place to put them in your house.

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Access to More Books

Of course, there are still bookstores around, but there are also a lot of places for finding books not commonly carried in bookstores. Looking for a first edition? Or a Chinese version of your favorite classic (like I do)? Well, just look at Amazon, Book Outlet, Ebay. There are countless websites to search for any book you might be looking for. Even a few decades ago, you would have to call around or actually go to different bookstores searching for a book. Now, every book is easily accessible.

Communication with Authors

There used to be this drastic distance between authors and readers, even a few decades ago. However, now most authors have Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube. You have livestreams like the ones Brandon Sanderson puts on and J.K. Rowling’s infamous Twitter posts (for better or for worse). We as readers feel more acquainted with the writers outside of just their craft itself.

We have this view of writers sitting locked in their office and never leaving their house, but most modern successful authors now do a lot of advertising for their book, from tours to a social media presence. It’s quite a change from successful authors even twenty years ago when I was a wee kid.

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Connect with Other Readers

This is perhaps my favorite thing technology has changed about reading. It used to be that only your friends and people you knew in your real life influenced your reading. However, now you see a massive move to online recommendations and connections. I have been recommended so many books by all my readers of this blog that I ended up loving, but I know I wouldn’t even know these books existed without your recommendations or me reading other blogs.

Goodreads itself has only been around since 2007, only thirteen years. As of 2016, there were already 50 million users. Goodreads not only lets you record your own reading and TBRs, but it also recommends other books and connects you to readers around the world. Something like this would not be as easily imagined twenty years ago.

Good and Bad

Saying that, I feel as if I’m only looking at the benefits technology has given to reading. Perhaps it’s because during this time of madness in the world I want to focus on the positives. However, I fully admit technology has hurt people reading books. Most people now spend more time on social media and playing games, when a few decades ago they might have been reading because there were less sedentary hobbies to enjoy.

Saying that, I do believe in the long run technology will change reading for the better, challenging traditional publishing to adapt and change to fit a new market.

What is your view of effects technology has had on reading? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

13 thoughts on “How Technology Changed Reading

  1. I started taking reading and writing seriously because I noticed how not doing these activities was limiting how I express myself. I kept watching YouTube videos, I have learned a lot by deciding to read and write often. I hope technology does get people to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad technology has helped you read and write more. Although this post talks about reading, you make a perfect point that technology has changed writing too. Imagine if we all were still writing with quills and paper or typewriters (even if I love both). Technology has really made writing accessible too. Good luck with your reading and writing!


  2. I love this post. Once again, you have engaged in a thoughtful discussion on a vital issue. This is particularly important to me because I use alternative format to read. without audio books, I would not have access to one of the great passions of my life. I also deeply enjoy engaging with other readers. My disability can make it difficult to participate in a lot of activities. Engaging with the bookish community online has given me a new way to participate in something that I love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I could not agree more. I know several people who have intense difficulty reading with books, but have found audiobooks. It is such a great way to bring books to a wider array of people. Like you, I have found engaging in the online reading community to be such a positive experience! Happy reading!


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