After wrapping up our March special issue on books in the digital era, a meeting about Horn Book web strategy, and another meeting to tour the virtual space that will host an upcoming SLJ event about YA books (this summer; I’ll keep you posted), I’m feeling completely pixelated. I recognize that I have an imagination that turns rather too easily to the apocalyptic, but does anybody else worry that a) we’ll be completely fucked if the electricity goes out and b) (slightly more reasonably) that once we are reading everything on a screen, books as we know them will cease to exist? I know, humankind’s need for Story, blah blah blah, but I think the current thinking and/or worries about ebooks apply only to a transitional moment. Once we are reading everything on screens, what will we want to read? I assume the alphabet is too broadly useful to go away anytime soon, and people will still read, but will they read, say, novels (themselves a product of a certain stage of technology)? Twenty years ago, you could hold a book in your lap. Now you can have the whole world there, whose virtual nature will only become more real. What will make you choose to read a book?
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.