My reading habits have changed a lot since I was younger. I’ve always been an avid reader, but I used to have a much narrower focus when it came to what I read. I would go through these phases. First, I would only read fantasy books, then I would only read books with maps in them, then I only wanted to read Newbery books, then I only wanted to read books from two different authors, etc. Since then, I have come to appreciate all genres and read a wide variety of them. I still sometimes will get in “moods”, but they don’t last as long as they used to. Another way that my reading habits are different is that I read a lot more eBooks than I used to–mostly because they didn’t exist when I was a kid. The change happened after my freshman year of college when I realized I hadn’t read a book for fun all year. That’s when I looked into getting myself a Kindle and once I did, I was back full-force. Now I’m not so picky about what format my books are in. I’ll read hardcover, paperback, or eBook. I’ll even read the occasional audiobook.
I definitely think books will still be relevant 20 years from now. I see about the same percentage of the population reading–perhaps a small dip due to the prevalence of video games and TV/movies. I think it will only get easier to publish books and that a lot of smaller publishing houses will start to crop up. With this happening, I think we’ll see a surge in the number of eBooks available, but I don’t see that causing a decrease in the number of print books being published necessarily. With the whole “retro/vintage/hipster” movement, I think reading has become cool again, and I think that sentiment will linger as Millennials get older. As far as reading becoming more interactive goes, I definitely see that as a possibility. Already an author who I follow via social media sites is using “#buildabook” to interact with her audience and to have her readers pick certain elements of the book she’s working on. She’ll present two options via social media and her followers will vote. So far, readers have had the chance to pick what the male and female leads look like, what the female protagonist’s name is, and what her best friend’s name is too. With eBooks becoming more prevalent, I think that they too may start to become more interactive with links and possible puzzles to be solved before you can move on–maybe like a combination of a book and a video game. The bottom line is that I don’t think reading is going anywhere. Maybe it will change, but I think books will still be around for another few decades at least.