So as you guys know, I got turned down for a literary magazine internship recently. As a part of the application, I was required to write an article based on another article in some sort of writing or publishing magazine. Since it doesn’t look like it’ll be getting published, I figured it’d be a shame to waste a perfectly good opinion piece. Below is the article I wrote, exactly as I sent it to my once potential employer. What do you guys think?
As the art of reading evolves, so does a nation of readers
In a recent Publisher’s Weekly article, resident blogger Josie Leavitt laments what appears to be the loss of the traditional reader. She notes a clear and, for her, intimidating swap of the conventional paper-bound book for its more modern cousin, the e-reader. But the article leaves one wondering: is this transition such a bad one?
Because although complaints about the digital age compromising the artistic value of print books have risen since the release of the e-reader, according to a study by the National Endowment for the Arts, so have trends in reading.
Yes, despite what many die-hard book fans might argue, trends in reading have actually taken a turn for the better after decades of downward plummeting. This spike also coincidentally occurs around 2008, the same time as the release of the more popularized e-readers.
Moreover, these anti-digital complaints seem to stem from writers and readers who have developed an emotional attachment to books themselves, those who will be generally more saddened by the decrease in print books than those readers without attachment.
From a marketing standpoint, the rise of the e-reader has been the product of a miracle. If the years previous to the digital book reader had been experiencing significant decreases in readership, then the coming of new and easier technology for reading should logically be welcomed with open arms. And it has.
With ease of mobility and the thrill of “newness,” e-reading has been embraced by society as much as it has been by the business world. Users find themselves discovering a multitude of classic and contemporary literature never known to them before, a complete literary world opened before their eyes.
This new found interest in reading among the masses must force those opposed to reconsider their opinion. Though a writer might prefer their readers to enjoy the art that is their writing on the traditional page, is it not slightly more important that people are reading it at all? Consider the expansion of audience. Now, more people than ever can share in the writings of all types of authors, whether they prefer printed or digital books.
E-readers cannot be seen as the enemy of tangible books. They are simply another medium for the ideas of an artist. Even though canvas may be the medium of choice for a painter, he or she cannot deny the growing market for digital art, and neither can the writer.
Society may become accustomed to e-readers eventually, as they did for printed books, and perhaps the rise in reading may once again plummet. But the writing industry will inevitably be reborn with the invention of a new way of reading, because it is adaptable. The written word remains a valuable component of Western culture, but as cultures evolve, their art must evolve with them. Those who do not adapt will be long forgotten. I think most writers would agree that the preservation of their ideas is more important than the media on which they are expressed. Writing must evolve. Let the nation of E-Readers grow.