The technology of literature

In the twenty-first century, technology is thriving. As of July 2020, 4.57 billion people were active internet users. 59% of the world’s population. It’s no surprise in saying that technology has changed our way of life over the years. And literature has not been exempt from this fact. 

Literature first dates back to 3400 B.C. where the Sumerian civilization first developed writing by making clay marks on stone in a script known as cuneiform. Since then, writing can be seen in many forms; written on cave walls, papyrus, stone tablets, and the most recent form of literature today; digitalized. 

While print books are still heavily favored, audiobooks are steadily rising, and while ebooks have been stalled out for a bit, they have slowly been becoming more popular. There’s advantages for each style of reading. Print books are nice because they’re away from an electronic screen and you don’t have to worry about your computer glitching, audiobooks is well loved for students who read slowly normally or for people who are doing something like walking or running, and ebooks are great for those who might not have the storage for books or who like to be able to read on the go where they don’t have the room to bring a book. 

In 2019, ebooks brought in $983 million and audiobooks brought in $1.2 billion, a 16% increase from 2018’s $940 million. 2019 was the first year that autobooks actually eclipsed ebook sales, though with covidebooks have begun rising once again. Within the first six months of covidebooks brought in $544.5 million in revenue. 

A similar pattern was shown in Lincoln Way Central. After surveying 60 random students, 48 of them said they preferred print, 10 preferred audiobooks, and 2 preferred ebooks 

Technology hasn’t just affected how we read books, but how we write them as well. After talking to Mrs. Davy, who recently finished writing her prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, I learned that while she handwrote the whole rough draft, everything else is done electronically, including all the editing. She also agreed that electronics are handy to have at your fingertips to look stuff up and for fact checking your book, such as looking for specific dates. 

Even so, Mrs. Davy agreed that she much prefers print books and “I think that reading and writing is supposed to be a break away from technology and electronics to let yourself be more artistic”. 

For now, print books may be #1 in most people’s hearts, but who knows how technology will impact literature in the years to come?