I attended an all day symposium on reading. Simon Groth, of if:book Australia, (see http://www.qwc.asn.au/AboutUs/ifbookAustralia.aspx to get an understanding on what they are about.) facilitated a number of guest speakers including author John Birmingham, Dale Spender and many others. The question is what will the reading experience be like in the future as the ebook revolution continues to gather space.
Overall the day was worthwhile. Somethings that were said were ridiculous. For example a QUT speaker tried to tell us how difficult it was for universities to satisfy the poor students of today. How they had to absorb so much more and work so harder and how difficult it was for them to decipher from the internet what was true and what was false. She mentioned that she was not surprised that so many left because it was so difficult. She certainly did not likemy comment that many who go to university should not be there. Universities were dumbing down their courses so more students can pass. Compare my degree of 1981 to the same degree today and you find there are less units (30 compared to 24 today), less contact hours and less quality at the end. Let's face universities are about putting bums on seats. If an accounting degree requires an OP 6 and they don't get enough students then they just reduce the quality to the student and drop the OP to fill the seats.
John Birmingham and Jon Page (President of the Australian Booksellers Assn) were very good with their analysis of ebooks, social media and the need for book shops of localise. Jon made a very important point which I hope all independent book sellers take notice. In the future the disposable worded book eg novels will move to ebooks while the quality non fiction and in particular local books will remain. More book shops should be supporting local authors.
Here! here! for Jon Page.