21st Century Literature discussion

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Question of the Week > How Has the Internet Impacted Your Reading? (7/29/18)

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message 1: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2778 comments Mod
Would you say you read any more or less thanks to the Internet? Do you do some or all of your book purchasing online? Are you reading authors/selections you wouldn't have read before (either because they're now accessible more easily or because they didn't exist before; e.g., hypertext fiction, flash fiction, etc.)?

What impact has the Web had on your own reading?


message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert | 446 comments Marc wrote: "Would you say you read any more or less thanks to the Internet? Do you do some or all of your book purchasing online? Are you reading authors/selections you wouldn't have read before (either becaus..."

That's a good one!!!

If anything the internet has made me read more! Pre internet I had to order my books through Malta's one and only decent bookstore (RIP - it's part of a chain bookstore now) and that would take three weeks. In order to find out about new books I would have to buy the TLS or the culture magazine of the times (a bit difficult when you're a student on a budget) - Now it's easier with Goodreads and Booktube. Also it's easier to acquire out of print books. Again in the past I would have to rely on my yearly sojourn to London. ABE books has eliminated that problem nicely. There have even been times where I had to order books from India ( as Penguin has a branch there and they have some exclusives) Getting a book has never been so simple.

As for reading time - I still read on my commute, when i'm at the bank and early in the morning, so that hasn't changed.

Blogging and Goodreads as well has helped us non magazine affiliated reviewers have a voice, which is equally important and something I appreciate.


message 3: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2777 comments Mod
For me, this question splits into before and after joining GR in 2014. Since than my reading has increased every year, and I still can't keep up with everything that interests me. Before then my reading was more random and spontaneous, and I was probably more willing to pick up books I knew little to nothing about. What I have found is that I am spending far less time listening to music.


message 4: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2387 comments The internet has made it so easy to obtain books - new and used. While I still frequent my local bookstores because I love to pick books up and feel them in my hand (and to support the stores), I buy many online. Abebooks has made it so easy to get used books. When the UK publishes before the US, I can usually still get the book from Book Depository. And then there are the Kindle and Audible books. Without audio books I could not possibly read as many books as I currently do because I can listen on my daily 8-10 mile walks and when doing things that require my hands to be busy but not my brain. And, as a result of my participation on GR, I read authors I would have been unlikely to read pre-GR.


message 5: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) | 156 comments The internet has made it so much easier for me to obtain more obscure or otherwise hard to get books that even the library doesn't carry. And that Amazon one-click ordering is dangerous.

On the other hand, I spend a lot of time online reading articles. Sites like GR, LitHub, Hyperallergic, etc. give me access to more information about literature and art.

Of course, my book expenses have also increased!


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 469 comments The internet has exponentially expanded my awareness of what books are out there. Before that, all I had was shelf browsing at libraries and bookstores. And I think I was aware of Publisher's Weekly. Seems so quaint now!

The Kindle Daily Deal has been both a blessing and a curse. 99% of the time, the DD books are ones I want to read, but then forget about as new titles appear. The idea was that if they're on my Kindle I can't forget about them. So now I have over 70 books on my Kindle that keep getting pushed to the back burner because I much prefer to read print books. But when I think back to my last great read on Kindle (Laurus) I can't imagine that reading it in print could have made it even better. Except.... now that I think about it.... there was one page in the Kindle version that was screwed up. I reported it to Amazon and their reply message said it would be looked at and fixed in a few days, but it's been months with nothing happening. I suppose it's up to the publisher, and they just haven't bothered..... a shame.


message 7: by Franky (last edited Jul 30, 2018 03:46PM) (new)

Franky | 116 comments I would say the Internet has really pushed me to read more. I sort of get inspired when I see the amounts of books fellow readers can take on in a year's time, and just the general interest here and on other sites. Plus, we now get recommendations and having other fellow passionate readers to talk about books and general chit chat about books and authors really engages a lot of people, me included. I like a lot of you, also like to read up on a book before and this is so easy. I would say I do 95% of my purchasing books online, but I love idea of going in and browsing both the libraries and our one Barnes and Noble that is left in town. I feel like I want to do my part and at least buy a book or two every year from them, and do some checking out at the library as well. There's always such a nostalgic feeling about being able to physically see and touch and browse through a book that online browsing can't deliver.


message 8: by Laurie (new)

Laurie I'm not quite sure if I read more books than I did prior to the internet or not since I didn't track my books back then. It seems about the same. What has increased enormously is reading about books, which I do on GR in my groups and on a few blogs and other bookish websites. Sometimes I think I spend too much time reading about books when I should be actually reading books.

Buying books is now so easy with the internet and I could browse forever whether it's online or in a brick and mortar store. Like most everyone else, my TBR has exploded into a mountain due to the ease of checking out new books or simply what others are reading. I thought I had a long list before being online, but that list was comparatively tiny to my list now.

Nadine, I feel your pain about buying Kindle books and letting them sit unread. I do it all the time and have probably double the number you mentioned.


message 9: by Doug (new)

Doug Hard to say if I'm reading more or less due to the Internet ... I certainly spend way more time on the Web than I should (and that I COULD use reading!) ... but being retired and reading an average of 240 books a year, I don't think it's impeding me THAT much!

I do virtually ALL of my book purchasing online... can't even remember the last time I went into a brick & mortar bookstore (and most of those have closed anyway - have none nearby). I TRY to get the majority of my books from the library, and I place holds on those online, which is much easier than browsing (most I have to request through interlibrary loan anyway).

My reading has always been ... eclectic, but I definitely think it has broadened in the past few years, due primarily to GR and groups like this! A large majority of the books I read now are due to suggestions from my many friends here on GR - and what is being read in things like the 'Booker Marathon' or the monthly club group reads.

The other way the Net has influenced my reading is being able to get free ARCs from Netgalley, downloaded to my tablet for easy reading. Three of this year's Booker noms I got that way, which is a tremendous boon! I have such a huge backlog of books from them I HAVEN'T gotten to, that I feel guilty and think that any minute now they are going to deny me getting any more (... which DOES sometimes happen :-( )

Oh... and I just have discovered all the various book vlogs on YouTube, several of which are the work of friends here on GR (hi Britta! Adam! Erik!) ... and so I have the Net to thanks for all of those folks informing me on the must reads/avoids!


message 10: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Rotter (themagpie45) | 58 comments I'm a bit concerned by the amount of time I spend reading about books. May be an offset to reduced tolerance for news.


message 11: by Lyn (new)

Lyn | 37 comments I get almost all my reading from my library (and Library2Go for my Kindle), so being able to put things on hold online has been wonderful, and I'm sure I read more due to that.


message 12: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 2195 comments Mod
Good question, I'd never really thought about the large impact the internet has had on my reading habits. Like Maggie, I spend a lot more time reading about books, but I also spend a lot less time browsing in bookstores.

I'm less likely to read a single writer's entire output since my TBR is now so vast.

I read (or listen to) far more short stories; on podcasts or websites like Tor.com. I also listen to far more audiobooks. Portability, ease of downloading, and the ability to speed up the reading all contributing.

The internet sucks up some of my traditional reading time, but the above, along with the portability of the Kindle, make up for it. So likely a wash as far as that goes.


message 13: by James E. (new)

James E. Martin | 77 comments I exclusively read ebooks downloaded from National Library of Singapore, where I live. It's helped me to read more, like on the train, and not have to bother going personally to one of the excellent community libraries.


message 14: by James E. (new)

James E. Martin | 77 comments Oh yeah, and I rely on the Internet, especially. GR, for book suggestions and reviews.


message 15: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2778 comments Mod
Like many of you, I get a lot more book news and book-related info and recs from the Internet and GR, which has increased my reading (or, in some cases, moved the ratio almost exclusively to books, whereas I used to subscribe to a few periodicals--most of that reading is now done online).

Before considering all these wonderful responses, I hadn't really considered how big a role the Internet actually plays in the way I read (I will keep notes on Google docs for group reads if I'm moderating or I'll export notes/highlights from Kindle if I read an e-book version; I will looks up interviews/reviews/etc.; I'll definitely research or seek to learn about unfamiliar concepts, historical events, famous persons, etc. mentioned in a book I'm reading. And, on occasion, I will seek to interact with an author or publisher via social media, or "promote" books I like by sharing on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

I probably read more short/flash fiction than I otherwise would have, in addition to poetry and short stories because these are often free or easily-accessed online. And that's not even counting the number of free e-books I've downloaded by haven't read yet thanks to everything from Project Gutenberg to free offers from publishers...


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