The Future of Reading

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  • In this program, host Alberto Manguel uses the history of the written text-from hand-copied codex, to machine-printed book, to digital document-as a vehicle to address large-scale efforts to preserve the world's literary heritage, a dual challenge involving a rapidly deteriorating corpus of old books and an overwhelming proliferation of blogs and other significant writings on the Internet. In addition, the implications of cell phone fiction and interactive online novels are discussed; the One Laptop per Child initiative, bringing online reading to the developing world, is praised; and concern over Google's proprietary book digitization project, which would make the company the de facto owner of the planet's largest cache of published writings, is expressed.


  • Films on Demand is distributed by Films Media Group for Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Meridian Education, and Shopware.
  • Encoded with permission for digital streaming by Films Media Group on November 20, 2010.
  • System requirements: FOD playback platform.
  • Mode of access: Internet.
  • Closed-captioned.
  • Portions in other languages with English subtitles.


  • History of Reading (4:43) -- Universal Literacy (3:07) -- The Gutenberg Museum (3:38) -- Ramifications of Mass Printing (2:32) -- Text Preservation and Restoration (2:30) -- The Future's Masterpieces (3:40) -- Mapping Humanity's Written Record (2:25) -- Corporate Owned Culture (3:06) -- Digital Preservation Program (3:44) -- Beyond the Book (5:23) -- Digital Reading in Japan (4:36) -- Fully Connected Digital Readers (3:22) -- Past and Future of Reading (4:02) -- Future of Reading (2:57) -- The Future of Reading: Credits (0:45)
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