Libraries, the universe and everything

Reading by installment?
May 30, 2014, 08:06
Filed under: Reading

This was supposed to be a quick and timely response to a Wired article I came across on Twitter, entitled The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix. I jotted down a few quick thoughts, with the intention of revising them later that day, and then promptly forgot all about it. I’m not sure why I didn’t just hit publish there and then as I don’t really have anything extra to say on the subject (although I could have edited out some of the parentheses), so for what it’s worth here you are…

This concept is extremely interesting, and my thoughts flew to the historic precedent for the serial publication of novels (Charles Dickens, in particular). It seems to me that this model could work really well for new fiction (because of course you could still buy the title if you liked it, but not have to worry about bookshelf space if you didn’t) and as long as you could re-read favourites (like you can watch the same thing multiple times on Netflix) I would certainly be happy to give it a try.

My only concern is would users be able to select their own content or would they just receive whatever the current titles were? Not that reading pre-selected material is necessarily bad, but part of appeal of Netflix (I don’t use Spotify so can’t comment on that) is that you can revisit old favourites/known quantities/recommendations as well as sampling new things.

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