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“Words with Friends”: Socially Networked Reading on Goodreads

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


Reading isn't what it was. As we enter the “late age of print,” E-Books are still less common than “P-Books” (printed books), but the balance is quickly changing, especially in the world of academic publishing (Striphas xii). While many lament the loss of the p-book's materiality, texts have become more lively as a result of digitization: textual-production platforms like blogging let writers and readers interact with each other and create intimate social relationships. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick found while writing her book Planned Obsolescence using CommentPress, an online platform that enables readers' commenting, writing can become a more social and creative process when done in dialogue with readers. This turn to the social in writing parallels a turn to the social in media generally. Thus, it makes sense to evaluate not how far our devices are taking us from paper—the answer is already pretty far—but rather how digital media are creating new social valences of reading.

The Changing Profession
Copyright © 2013 by The Modern Language Association of America

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