One of the most significant impacts of the technological revolution on literature is that it’s made the latter more accessible to the majority of readers. Technologies help us develop an inclusive culture, thus allowing more people to get information from different sources. After the arrival of the Internet, every society member got unlimited access to all kinds of data. However, rapid technological development has made finding it both easier and more complicated.
In this article, we will discuss the most remarkable ways in which technologies impact the literature world and how we perceive these changes.
Undoubtedly, technologies have let disabled people become more integrated into society. But have you ever thought about how many books have appeared thanks to technological development?
Speech-Generating Device (SGD)
A speech-generating device is a computer that allows individuals with speech disabilities to communicate with other people by typing their messages on using a keyboard. After the text is typed, the machine transforms it into a voice message and speaks it out loud. Without such a machine, you could have never read ‘A Brief History of Time’ or ‘Black Holes and Baby Universe.’ Indeed, Stephen Hawking used the prototype of SGD, attached to his wheelchair to communicate with the public and also write books that have changed our world.
Audiobooks provide people with visual disabilities with another possibility to explore the wonderful world of reading. Since the creation of the Internet, the audiobook industry has striven to respond to the demand of visually handicapped readers. It allows people with visual impairment to perceive information and navigate the literary world in ways they never did before.
Audiobooks are also popular with non-handicapped individuals who can listen to their favorite works of literature on the move — for example, on the way to work. All it takes is just a pair of headphones and a mobile device to plug them into. Unlike regular mass market paperbacks, audiobooks let you save a lot of time and make the reading process much more enjoyable.
After uploading a book on your smartphone or tablet, you can easily adjust its font size/style, change brightness and zoom the text. All these features are a big help to individuals with poor eyesight who prefer the visual mode of perception to the auditory one. Thanks to electronic books, people who suffer from myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism can enjoy their favorite literary works without any physical obstacles.
One more important aspect of ebooks is that you can write to them with the help of your tablet or a laptop. You can even conduct your own literary research with your gadget and publish it for millions of other users!
New Genres Emerge
Advances in technology make it possible for people to fantasize about scientific advances in the future. Thanks to the emergence of new genres, such as science fiction and science fantasy, they can dream about galaxy exploration, interstellar spaceships, nanotechnologies that can modify a person’s body, and many other futuristic things.
A good example is ‘1984’ — a dystopian science fiction novel that is considered to have spawned a whole new genre. According to the New York Times, the book is still massively popular among present-day readers. In fact, it’s been in such high demand lately that the publisher had to print additional 75.000 copies to meet it.
Before the 18th century, a book had to travel a long way before reaching the reader’s house. The process of writing and copying books was resource-intensive and time-consuming. Due to high publishing and copying costs, books were inaccessible to the majority of people.
In 2019, it takes no longer than a week for the author to have their work published. A global distribution system makes it possible to deliver books to all continents of the Earth. The language barrier is no longer a problem because thousands of translators work 24/7 to adapt books to an international audience. Thanks to globalization, accessing information and getting familiar with the world’s best-selling literary works has never been easier.
The other side of the coin is that people receive tons of information every day. Our mind still has not fully adapted to filtering so much data on a daily basis. Sometimes, people are simply unable to make a decision because they have too much info to analyze.
In the case of literature, sifting through an enormous volume of data to extract useful information is also a major problem. Today, we can buy more books than we can read — and that poses a new challenge.
But, things aren’t really that bad. One of the most reliable methods of discriminating between relevant and irrelevant information is reading other people’s reviews.