Growing up, I loved to read. I grew up in a rural location in Ohio (I had Amish for neighbors) which sometimes made it difficult to get a wide assortment of books. I had a bookmobile that would come visit and bring new books. I can still remember the smell of the bookmobile and the great memories that all of the new books brought. My mom always made sure that I had plenty of other opportunities to get my hands on books. She ordered books for me (Scholastic, I think) and she also took me to the neighboring county public library for additional books. (Could you tell I could never get enough books?) But it was a different time when sports and other activities were not as readily available as they are today. My friends and I actually read a lot of books. I remember that we would read a lot in school and we would have silent reading each day for about twenty minutes. The teacher would even pull out a book and read as well.
Probably the biggest change in reading for me personally is the advances in technology. We can read books on digital devices from anywhere and we do not even have to set foot in a library or bookstore to obtain books. I used books on audio cassette growing up and now we have audiobooks and digital streaming for our listening pleasure. The Internet (which wasn't around when I was a child) gives us the option of finding book reviews and titles that we might not have seen at our local library. Even bigger is that we now have much more opportunities for social interaction because of technology. I have found Goodreads to be a wonderful resource to get information about books and share opinions with others.
I would hope that in twenty years we would be reading more. People have so many different ways that they can interact with books, both with digital, audio and the printed format. Of course, to read a story, you have to engage with it, to think it through the author's mind. I still think that in twenty years, literacy will still be an active part of our society. We live in a society where everybody is busy with other activities, social media, movies and television to actively engage their minds with the act of reading. It does worry me that people will lose sight of the importance of reading. Yes, children will still be taught how to read, but will they discover a passion for reading? We need to instill a love for reading in our future patrons now while continuing to keep our current patrons connected as well.
With ever rapid changes in technology, I think reading might become more interactive when using digital devices.That being said, I don't think that traditional publishing would ever go away. I still love to hold and feel the printed book before me. I cannot imagine what it would be like not to experience books in this manner. Publishing companies might have to change the way they publish, but I think the printed book will still be here in twenty years. In essence, my viewpoint is that technology could never replace the printed book.