I snapped this (rather dark) photo of Julia last night. She was minding her own business, sitting on the floor. What do you think she's doing? Yep, that's an ipod touch in her hands. (Thank you, Philip, for giving it to your dad. The other children have enjoyed it :)
She's writing a book.
Kids these days do read -- they read a lot. Peruse the past fifteen years in your mind. Harry Potter? Twilight? Hunger Games? (I know, I know, perhaps not the most wholesome material.) And these are only the block buster biggest hits. Kids and young people are reading in huge numbers, and the advent of Kindles and ebooks has only exploded the reading market. I'm so glad! I feel that the activity of reading is safe for the foreseeable future.
But it's only safe if people keep writing, and that's where Julia comes in. She writes because she's seen me write. She sees it as a doable, fun activity that quickens the mind and produces a valuable product.
Should I kick her off the ipod touch, not allow her to use the desktop computer, and make her write it all out by hand, on paper? Of course not. Who still writes out a novel in long-hand on a legal pad? I suppose there are a few out there. But the world of books, agents, editors (especially!) and publishers is an electronic world. Manuscripts fly across oceans via email, and are corrected using the Reviewing Toolbar and other fancy means. How silly it seems to say that a novel -- Julia's novel -- should live its whole life electronically, until the reader sees it, and then -- only then -- it must be in paper form.
There will always be a market for the print book, I'm sure. But I want to be looking ahead. This next generation of writers (not just readers!) will want an electronic format. The readers of the world will be glad they have it.