Reading in a post-textual era
First Monday

Reading in a post-textual era by Miha Kovac and Adriaan van der Weel



Abstract
This paper analyses major social shifts in reading by comparing publishing statistics with results of empirical research on reading. As media statistics suggest, the last five decades have seen two shifts: from textual to visual media, and with the advent of digital screens also from long-form to short-form texts. This was accompanied by new media-adequate reading modes: while long-form content invokes immersed and/or deep reading, we predominantly skim online social media. Empirical research on reading indicates that the reading substrate plays an important role in reading processes. For example, comprehension suffers when complex texts are read from screens. This paper argues that media and reading trends in recent decades indicate broader social and cultural changes in which long-form deep reading traditionally associated with the printed book will be marginalised by prevailing media trends and the reading modes they inspire. As these trends persist, it may be necessary to find new approaches to vocabulary and knowledge building.

Contents

Introduction
Textual media and publishing statistics
The art of going down while climbing
New modes of reading
The book dethroned
Books and screens and the reading brain
Publishing statistics and reading

 


 

Introduction

In recent decades, massive changes in reading patterns are continuously being reported. Frequently they are being discussed in connection with digitisation, the suggestion being that there is a cause-and-effect relation at play. The latest thinking has it that we may be entering a post-textual era. “If there were a futures market in literacy, it would be dropping”, proclaimed the respected book market analyst Mike Shatzkin in February 2018. “It is a sad fact that the value of written words, in relation to spoken words and still and moving pictures, is sinking like a stone.” Adding his younger but hardly less influential voice to Shatzkin’s pessimistic appraisal, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote in the same month that “reading prose on screen is going out of fashion”. He observed that “the most influential communicators online once worked on Web pages and blogs. They’re now making podcasts, Netflix shows, propaganda memes, Instagram and YouTube channels, and apps” [1].

Undoubtedly, audio and video content on the Web is growing, and available statistics show that often still and moving pictures get more attention than their written counterparts do [2]. But is the familiar habit of reading verbal texts really being seriously threatened? What kind of literacy futures market is Mike Shatzkin talking about that he sees nose-diving? And what do media statistics and reading research have to say about all this?

 

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Textual media and publishing statistics

In the overall media landscape there are vast areas where communication with written words (and quite often in print) still holds a central position. Globally, throughout the twentieth century the number of print newspapers, magazines and journals saw constant growth as did their readership, regardless of the competition of audio and visual media. In Europe and the U.S., there was indeed a decline in print circulation of daily papers due to the growth of digital media after the 1990s, but thanks to growth in Asia (predominantly in India and China) global daily print newspaper circulation was in fact still growing in the period 2012–2016. The World Press Trends database estimated that in 2016, more than one-third of the world population (2.7 billion people) were regularly reading printed daily papers [3]. And if not print but reading is the criterion, even in regions where print was in decline there was growth in the consumption of digital news either through freely accessible Web sites or by paid access [4]. Like printed media, most of these news sites were predominantly text-based, though with a strong admixture of still and moving visual content (the latter being the main difference in respect to printed media).

In the category of non-print reading vast growth also came around the turn of the century with the advent of social media, such as the mostly text-based Twitter (2006) or the text + picture-based Facebook (2004) and their Chinese counterparts Weibo (2007) and WeChat (2011). By 2017, one third of the world population was using these media, and in the 14 years since its launch, Facebook alone generated 2.2 billion users. Further, most messaging, online chatting and e-mailing takes place in written format and untold numbers of people are still writing blogs and maintaining their Web pages regardless of influencers who may be switching to podcasts. Let’s also not forget that the growing audio and video media landscape would fall apart without reading and writing. Navigation among all the still and moving pictures and spoken words that Manjoo is referring to would be impossible without written explanations, instructions, comments and metadata.

So is there growth or decline in reading? Even if Manjoo were right in observing a growth of “voice and images” (although he didn’t produce any evidence for his statement), that does not mean that text may not also be growing. Clearly an enormous amount of reading activity, both in print and on screen, is going on all around the globe every day. Even if their central position in the social media ecosystems should be under fire, written words are an integral and constitutive part of life online. Therefore, if by literacy is meant “being able to read” and using this skill for information retrieval and online and off-line communication, Shatzkin’s pessimism cannot be justified. But since he is a book industry analyst by profession, it is not too far-fetched to assume that he may not be referring to the ability to read, but to the reading of books specifically.

What then is the situation with books — that gold standard of reading and literacy? At least at first sight, the facts don’t seem to warrant pessimism about book reading either.

 

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The art of going down while climbing

After the Second World War, an explosion in title production and moderate growth in print runs (Kovač and Wischenbart, in press) stabilised the book as a mass-market media product. Conglomeration of the book industry, the advent of the mega-bookstores in shopping malls and Internet stores pushed trade books to the heart of consumption in the 1980s and 1990s (Greco, et al., 2007; Stevenson, 2010; Miller, 2006). Bestseller sales make a good illustration of this process. In 1955 the no.1 bestselling book in the U.S., Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar sold 190.000 copies. Forty years later, in 1994, John Grisham’s bestseller The Chamber, sold 17 million copies (Franzen, 2002; see also Hackett and Burke, 1977). Given that the population of the U.S. almost doubled in this period, the sale of Grisham’s book was 40 times higher per million inhabitants than Wouk’s. Not surprisingly in this period book reading in the U.S. was growing more generally: in 1949, 20 percent of Americans answered yes to the question by Gallup pollsters (see Moore, 2005) if they were currently reading a book, and in 1990s, this grew to 37 percent [5]. So books were growing, as were all media.

However, the explosive growth of bestseller sales, the growing book audiences and the consolidation of sales in the West are deceptive. Unfortunately, only educated guesses on print runs and number of copies sold per head are possible as statistics on print runs were compiled only sporadically and only in some countries. Available data, together with data on sales of book printing paper to printing companies (Escarpit, 1966; Krummel, 2013; Kovač, 2015), indicate that in the 1960s, on planet Earth, five billion books were being produced annually in the 1950s and in the 2000s, six billion. However, if we ponder these data in relation to population growth, 1.6 books per head were published annually in the 1950s, compared to a mere 0.9 around the year 2000. Again on the basis of available data, we can assume that the main reason for the global drop in per-head book consumption was the near non-existence of book production and professional distribution networks in less developed Latin American, Asian and African countries where the population explosion was the biggest. Even in 2017, for example, after a long period of growth in book production, the number of copies produced per head in China was 0.6 whilst in developed European countries it was between 3 and 7 per head (more on this in Kovač, 2015, and Kovač and Wischenbart, in press). Another reason for the drop in per-head sales was that in the U.S. and Europe, growth in bestseller sales was not followed by adequate growth of midlist sales, which started to shrink to a thin and very long tail.

Keeping track of such trends became more complex in the twenty-first century after the ebook emerged as a serious proposition. In 2017 for example, the ebook subscription platform run by Chinese online giant Tencent had more than 192 million subscribers (30 percent more than the population of Russia, three times more than the population of the United Kingdom and 48 times more than the population of Norway). As the Chinese do not publish statistics on the number of ebooks borrowed and read, however, tastes, preferences and the overall e-reading dynamics of Chinese book audiences remain a mystery. The Indian book market presents a similar complication.

On the other side of the Pacific, U.S. online giant Amazon operates in a comparably secretive manner. Even worse, since Amazon does not comply with ISBN rules and in the U.S. and Europe most ebooks on the Amazon platform are self-published, their production and consumption remain below established book statistics radars. Consequently, we do not know whether ebook production and consumption has been declining or growing over the last few years — and even if detailed data on ebook subscriptions in China, U.S., India and Europe were available, we lack proper statistical tools to integrate them into established statistics on book reading and consumption.

Still, the basic math is simple. If global book production in 2000 was around six billion copies when per-head book production was 0.9, in 2017 (when the world population jumped to 7.5 billion) it should have jumped to around 10 billion printed copies and ebook licenses sold in order to reach the same global per-head level as in the 1960s. Given the statistical challenges it is hard to establish whether such a jump did indeed take place, but it is unlikely for two reasons. First, sales of printed books were decreasing when ebook markets were growing. This indicates that to a significant extent, ebooks were substituting and not complementing print book markets. And second, there was a strong decrease in the academic book market in the last 40 years. After 1980 print runs of academic monographs declined by more than 80 percent as, due to variety of reasons, the bulk of scholarly communication — first in the natural and a bit later in the social sciences — shifted to academic journals (Thompson, 2005; van der Weel, 2015).

Overall then, the following picture emerges. Although book production might be growing in absolute terms, print-based and publisher-curated long-form content was not keeping up with population growth. Yet slowdown in book production does not equal slowdown in text production in a variety of different formats. Over the last 15 years the proliferation of digital technologies spawned new text-based media such as Twitter and Facebook. However, these hugely popular new platforms favour short and simple sentences larded with audio and video content.

So we are far from witnessing the end of reading and literacy as Shatzkin suggests. Given the vast amount of text being consumed both in print and in digital forms, the contention that we are currently entering a post-textual era in which the communication of culture at large is shifting away from text to other modalities seems untenable. If anything, the number of texts being produced and consumed on the Internet seems to be making reading more important than ever before in history. In that sense, literacy may be said to be increasing.

What has been in decline — at least in relative terms — for many decades is the production and consumption of the book. This started long before the digital era, with the advent of television. For the more recent period, besides the data on shrinking turnovers of book publishing industries between 2000 and 2015, this finding is supported by reading surveys that in many countries show a decline in the number of book readers. This is particularly serious among adolescents [6]. Similarly, time diaries show shrinking book reading time (Southerton, et al., 2012; Wennekers, et al., 2018).

 

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New modes of reading

The single largest source of growth of reading, especially for informational purposes, is the Internet. However, while on the Internet the amount of text being consumed seems to be exploding, at the same time the average length of each individual text is probably decreasing: we are living in an era of proliferation of short texts and stagnation of long texts.

Table 1 presents an overview of textual media in the twenty-first century, categorised by length. Category 1 is that of media that combine short texts (up to 500 words) with audio and video materials. Here the prevailing substrate is the screen. Category 2 contains medium-length texts usually combined with still images (say, photographs in serious journalism and tables and charts in scientific papers). Again, the prevailing substrate is the screen, with significant use of paper for in-depth reading in such fields as science and serious journalism. Category 3 contains books, where — despite the growth of ebooks — the prevailing substrate remains paper.

As we move from short texts on the left to long texts on the right, we thus move from screen to paper and from texts with embedded audio and video to text-only media. We also move from growing media industries on the left side to the declining book industry on the right.

 

Textual media in the second decade of the twenty-first century
 

 

This concurrence between publishing statistics and reading surveys indicates a broader cultural change in the ways information is consumed. We believe that it is likely that a correlation may be established between the decline in the reading of long-form literary fiction and non-fiction on the one hand, and the increase in the reading of short-form and medium-length texts. In other words, between the 1960s and 2010s, long-form reading time has been redistributed (1) to short-form and medium-length texts, and (2) to viewing of television, films and series.

Indeed, we may even postulate a cause-and-effect relation. As we will discuss below, it looks as if reading has been caught up in a vicious literacy spiral:

  • Reading is a more demanding modality than visual images, and undemanding forms of entertainment, especially television and film — and now series and even computer games — are an attractive alternative to a broad class of long-form texts such as genre fiction;

  • The Internet is an inherently fast-paced medium: insofar as it continues to be used for reading, this causes a tendency for users to prefer reading shorter texts;

  • Shorter texts are by their nature less likely to be complex and afford a broad vocabulary;

  • Reading fewer long-form texts tends to reduce (1) the ability to engage with complexity in argument, syntax and grammar, and (2) the depth and breadth of vocabulary;

  • Given less practice in reading complex texts with a broad vocabulary, especially less well educated people will be less likely to seek out long-form reading — even for entertainment — and turn to television, film and series instead.

In short, there is more to the story than the rise and decline of different media industries.

 

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The book dethroned

From the invention of printing with moveable type till the arrival of the first wave of ‘new media’ in the first half of the twentieth century the dominance of text, epitomised by the printed book, went unchallenged.

As a result, books played a central role in the dissemination of knowledge and culture and became the primary and authoritative medium in education for centuries. After the nineteenth-century reading revolution, books also became the single most important source of mediated popular entertainment (Chartier, 1994; van der Weel, 2011). It was film and radio, but even more so television that for the first time began to make inroads into the hegemony of long-form text. The arrival on the scene of the digital media towards the close of the twentieth century reinforced this move away from long-form text in a book format. Once advances in processor speed and memory enabled everyone to use media not just to consume but create messages using other modalities, this opened the way for the non-textual communication practices referred to by Shatzkin and Manjoo.

Therefore, dropping “book futures” points towards a broader and deeper civilizational change. Not only is the book market and book reading shrinking, but the book is losing its historical position as the chief repository and means of dissemination of knowledge and culture. In order to grasp the contour of this change, we will look at how reading modes changed. For that, we first need to outline what reading is.

Wikipedia — a popular source for, among other things, definitions — defines reading as “a complex ‘cognitive process’ of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning (reading comprehension)” ..., i.e., as “a complex interaction between the text and the reader which is shaped by the reader’s prior knowledge, experiences, attitude, and language community which is culturally and socially situated [emphasis added]”. That is to say that actual reading practices continuously adapt to the cultural and social circumstances prevailing at any given time and place as well as to the perceived demands of the type of text being read.

For a more detailed description of this process, we will apply Daniel Willingham’s (2017) use of the working memory/long term memory model, assuming that working memory allows for the manipulation of stored information and long-term memory for a long-term storage of knowledge. Working memory has a limited capacity so that we can do only a limited number of things at the same time: we can’t play chess, browse First Monday online and memorise Bob Dylan’s lyrics at a same time. All so-called multitasking is in reality a matter of rapid task switching.

However, we can overcome this working memory limitation to a significant extent by automation of mental processes. The more skilled we are in decoding, the less time we need to guess the meaning of written words; the more we internalize the rules of grammar, the more we free mental capacity that would otherwise be needed, for example, to decode structure and grammar of sentences while reading. A person who is not fluent in letter-to-sound translation finds all her or his efforts occupied with decoding, leaving little working memory for the task of comprehending what is being read. In such a case, there will be less space left for keeping in working memory previous sentences and for drawing information from long-term memory that would allow better understanding of what is being read. The more automated the decoding system, the more working memory space is left for comprehension [7].

If automation of the reading process (through the sheer amount of text consumed) is one factor that enhances comprehension, the other major factor is a qualitative one. Quite simply, the breadth of one’s reading increases one’s vocabulary. The more unknown words one encounters, the more problems one has understanding what the text is about. Consequently, persons with a narrow vocabulary will have similar communication problems in their mother tongue as someone else might have in a foreign language. Further, narrowness in vocabulary walks hand in hand with lower comprehension of ambiguity, as words can have more than one meaning and different words can have similar meanings depending on the context in which they appear.

Research has shown that we are able to guess the meaning of unknown words if there are fewer than two percent of them per text. Therefore, the more words we know and the more familiar we are with the ambiguities of their meanings, the more different texts and contexts we are able to negotiate — and the easier it is to guess the meaning of unknown words in a narrative [8].

Such vocabulary building is closely related to what and how we read. For explanatory purposes, we will simplify the diversity of actual reading practices to three basic modes: skimming, immersed reading and in-depth reading. By skimming, we mean a reading practice that looks through a text quickly in order to get a general idea of what the message is about, and/or quickly browses across a set of different short texts such as Web pages, blogs or Facebook posts without immersing into any of them. By immersive/absorbed reading, we mean a practice by which we plunge into the plot of a story in such a way that we become detached from the world around us. We consider this reading mode as typical for genre fiction. Immersing ourselves in a romance or a thriller resembles the way we immerse ourselves in a video game or a movie blockbuster. Undoubtedly, there are cognitive surpluses in all three activities, as we, for example practise decoding skills by immersed reading, micro movement coordination of hands and eyes by video gaming and empathy while watching movies — but none of these activities is cognitively demanding and none of them involves intensive vocabulary building.

On the other hand, in-depth reading is cognitively demanding in the sense that we use what we already know as the basis for comparing and understanding new information and new words and then use the new information and words to build broader background knowledge and vocabulary. The result of in-depth reading is not only the ability to produce new verbal forms that allow critical rethinking of reality, but also the ability to develop empathy and perspective taking. We consider this reading mode as typical for academic reading, literary fiction, poetry, serious journalism and non-fiction. As seen in Table 2, these three reading modes correlate with different textual substrates and formats.

 

Modes of reading and reading substrates
 

 

When reading Tables 1 and 2 together, the trend seems to be obvious: there is a pressure of screen-based skimming reading on long form paper-based reading. However, regardless of the many prophecies on the death of print as a result of such trends, lab reading research has produced evidence that these are premature. As we shall see below, paper-based reading is still quite resistant to the pressures of skimming [9].

 

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Books and screens and the reading brain

In the past two decades, a significant number of empirical studies has been conducted on differences between print and screen reading. In 2017 and 2018 respectively, two meta-studies have summarised the main findings.

The first study (Singer and Alexander, 2017) was education oriented, proclaiming as its main goal to “better ascertain how the affordances of print and digital mediums relate to what students understand from those textual encounters” and to “chart their levels of comprehension”. This approach was chosen because the authors assumed that medium may play a more influential role when “comprehension questions move beyond gist understanding” [10].

The meta-study revealed a lack of conceptual clarity in the majority of examined empirical studies, as such central concepts as print and digital reading, knowledge, beliefs and learning were inconsistently defined, raising the question whether those engaged in such research were operating from a consistent conceptual base. Moreover, many studies did not deal with comprehension issues at all.

Consequently, out of 254 published texts on the print-screen reading dichotomy the authors ended up selecting 36 studies for analysis. They placed all texts in two length categories (up to 500 words counting as short; above 500 words as long); coded the definitions of reading on which the research was based (whether the definition was conceptual, componential, operational or multifaceted) and defined the research settings (whether research took place in an instructional, research or non-academic setting).

Even in the studies they ended up selecting they still found a set of analytical deficiencies. Only eight studies provided data on length and type of texts used in the research; surprisingly few studies considered as relevant individual differences among research participants such as reading rate, vocabulary knowledge and topic knowledge, and in 63 percent of studies comprehension measures were developed by the researchers. On this basis, it was impossible to reach precise conclusions on how vocabulary knowledge affects comprehension, and how comprehension, reading substrate and complexity of text correlate.

Nevertheless, one prevailing finding stood out: in 91 percent of studies, when the text involved more than 500 words (i.e., took up more than a page or a screen) comprehension scores were significantly better for print than for digital reading and scrolling had a negative impact on comprehension. Moreover, studies that managed to probe comprehension on more than one level found that the more complex the text, the better the comprehension when the text was read from paper. Additionally, when participants were reading for depth of understanding and not solely for gist, print appeared to be the more effective processing medium (Singer and Alexander, 2017; Mangen, et al., 2013). This finding is even more compelling since 88.89 percent of the studies examined involved school-age children, i.e., so-called digital natives, indicating that the advantage of paper reading is unlikely to disappear when the analogue generation dies away.

Education and the research environment offer further confirmation that such a shallowness effect of screen reading is being experienced. Scientists and scholars print out papers when they intend to read them in-depth, and when the price and delivery is not an issue readers opt for print [11]. Even digital natives prefer printed textbooks over digital ones when in-depth learning is required (Mizrachi, 2015; Kurata, et al., 2017; McNeish, et al., 2012; Feldstein and Maruri, 2013). This trend suggest that despite the growth of digital learning tools (see Merchant, et al., 2014), at least researchers and students will in the future wish to keep using both reading substrates in accordance with the purpose of reading.

The second study (Delgado, et al., under review) took a somewhat different approach. In order to support compatibility between print and digital media, they restricted their review to those studies that were dealing only with digital texts without any hyperlinks or other digital enhancement, closely resembling the printed version. They included studies with between-participants (n=38) and within-participants design (n=16). Together these studies involved 171,055 participants.

In general, the findings of this study were similar to those of Singer and Alexander (2017). The results “yielded a clear picture of screen inferiority” regarding reading comprehension, especially so when scrolling was required for reading of a digital text. These findings “were consistent across methodologies and age groups”. However, the study brought three additional insights into the paper-screen reading dichotomy: the advantage of paper-based reading was significantly larger a) when reading time was limited; b) when participants read informational as opposed to narrative texts and, saliently; and c) the advantage of paper significantly increased from 2000 to 2017. The authors claim that these findings did not vary according to all remaining variables such as education level, length and type of comprehension assessed, sample size, type of test, group allocation or publishing status of the text used for test.

In short, according to Delgado, et al., screen inferiority, rather than decreasing as might be expected, has actually increased over the last 18 years, indicating that the increased exposure of digital natives to screens does not contribute to an overall better understanding of linear texts in digital format (see also Støle [2018] in this issue). The authors speculate that this has to do with poorer quality of attention when reading from screen, undermining the immersion and sustained attention required for in-depth reading of linear texts — this even more so as their meta-study excluded studies that compared reading of printed texts with texts with hyperlinks that seem to be the most obvious distractors in screen reading.

Therefore both studies lead us to a clear-cut conclusion: especially when deep reading is required, screen reading is inferior to paper in terms of comprehension and this has likely to do with lower attention to and regard for the digital text, as well as overconfidence when reading from screen.

We can now link these findings to the trends in publishing statistics that we mentioned earlier.

 

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Publishing statistics and reading

As we have seen, publishing and media statistics of the last 15 years indicate that there has been a push towards reading short textual, textual/visual and textual/audiovisual content on screen whilst sales and the consumption of long-form content (i.e., books for the trade and academic market) are declining. That is, in the last 15 years we witnessed an enormous explosion of media (Category 1 in Table 1) that enhance skimming abilities, which is the prevailing practice in consuming them. As shown by Twenge, et al. (2018), there was fast growth of such trends among US adolescents:

“Whereas only half of twelfth graders visited social media sites almost every day in 2008, 82 percent did by 2016. At the same time, iGen adolescents in the 2010s spent significantly less time on print media, TV, or movies compared with adolescents in previous decades. The percentage of twelfth graders who read a book or a magazine every day declined from 60 percent in the late 1970s to 16 percent by 2016.”

There are signals that with the growth of screen media use, media habits developed through the consumption of short-form screen content are actually contaminating the way that we approach reading long-form content in Categories 2 and 3 in Table 1 (Carr, 2010). The fact that reading time per scientific article has seriously declined (Tenopir, et al., 2015) for example, might not indicate that researchers have become smarter and are capable of faster deep reading than their predecessors, but might be a sign that they started to write shorter papers and increasingly skim any content that doesn’t add to their existing background knowledge. A hundred years ago, Ludwig Wittgenstein, in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), declared that the limits of our vocabulary are also the limits of the world we inhabit. If deep reading habits are increasingly swapped for the skimming mode of reading this might be pushing online media users towards a shallower and narrower world.

Does all this lead to the conclusion that the world as such is becoming more stupid? Such a conclusion is of course tempting to those already inclined towards a certain cultural pessimism. Indeed, there are a few fascinating analyses indicating that this might indeed be the case (Alvesson, 2014; Alvesson and Spicer, 2016). Yet, there is also a set of data indicating the opposite (Flynn, 2016). On the basis of findings presented in this paper we would like to argue a different point. If films and games have similar (positive and negative) effects as immersive reading of fiction and life-style books, then marginalization of such immersive reading represents no significant cultural loss, given that we practice decoding while reading online too. It’s up to book publishers’ marketing abilities to survive in such a new media environment. However, If deep long-form reading is compromised the cultural loss is much greater. Deep long-form reading is likely to remain one of the main paths that enables building cognitive capacities, new knowledge and vocabulary and achieving such important cultural values as critical thinking, empathy and perspective taking.

Whilst publishing statistics indicate that genre fiction and with it absorbed/immersive reading are indeed switching to screens, laboratory research and behaviour of readers indicate that so far deep long-form reading has indeed remained paper-based. As long as people continue to consider vocabulary and knowledge building, empathy and perspective taking important cultural values, one may expect that they will be prepared to continue to engage in deep long-form reading, which best supports it. The question that remains open, however, is how mainstream or niche (or elite or subcultural, depending on one’s viewpoint) such reading will be. The scenario is not unthinkable of an increasing socioeconomic divide between those who are able to afford printed books and prepared to expend cognitive energy on deep long-form reading and those who may increasingly seek out non-textual alternatives regardless of cognitive effect.

Then again, being able to combine in-depth paper-based reading and thinking with the speed of online ‘multitasking’ in information retrieval processes might lead to entirely new mental abilities and new ways of thinking (van der Weel, 2011). If such habits become mainstream, the printed book and the in-depth reading practices it fosters, combined with an ‘online’ form of literacy, may become one of the most subversive media of the twenty-first century — and remain so until we invent an equally or more effective tool than deep reading for knowledge building. End of article

 

About the authors

Miha Kovač is professor of publishing studies at the University of Ljubljana.
E-mail: mihael [dot] kovac [at] ff [dot] uni-lj [dot] si

Adriaan van der Weel is Bohn Extraordinary Professor of Book Studies at the University of Leiden.
E-mail: a [dot] h [dot] van [dot] der [dot] weel [at] hum [dot] leidenuniv [dot] nl

 

Notes

1. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/09/technology/the-rise-of-a-visual-internet.html, New York Times (14 February 2018).

2. See, for example, Cooper, 2013, at https://www.fastcompany.com/3022301/7-powerful-facebook-statistics-you-should-know-about, accessed 4 March 2018,

3. More data at http://www.wptdatabase.org/world-press-trends-2017-facts-and-figure,

4. Ibid.

5. See Moore, 2005, at http://news.gallup.com/poll/16582/about-half-americans-reading-book.aspx.

6. See, for example, the data for the Netherlands for 2016 (Stichting Lezen, 2016), the GfK survey on Germany from 2017, the U.S. longitudinal study on reading habits among adolescents (Twenge, et al., 2018), and the PISA 2009 (OECD, 2009) results (https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/48624701.pdf).

7. For more on this see Willingham, 2017, pp. 65–66.

8. See Willingham, 2017, 72–97.

9. See also Baron, 2015, especially chapter 4.

10. Singer and Alexander, 2017, pp. 2, 3.

11. Baron, 2015, pp. 85–87; Tenopir, et al., 2015.

 

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Editorial history

Received 3 September 2018; accepted 7 September 2018.


Copyright © 2018, Miha Kovač and Adriaan van der Weel. All RIghts Reserved.

Reading in a post-textual era
by Miha Kovač and Adriaan van der Weel.
First Monday, Volume 23, Number 10 - 1 October 2018
https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/9416/7592
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i10.9416





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