On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a one day symposium on The Future Of The Book held by the Queensland Writers Association here in Brisbane at the State Library. It was a fascinating day filled with talks from authors, booksellers, web designers, feminists and a whole host of others.

The Future Of The Book aimed to take an in-depth look at  exactly that, the future of the printed page. From digital texts to ebooks and beyond, we looked at all the ways our experience of reading is going to change and evolve into the future. We looked at topics like, literacy beyond the printed page and libraries and digital heritage. It was an absolutely fascinating and mind bending day and one I am really glad I had the opportunity to attend.

The day began with The Rules about drinking games so I knew it would be a good day ! The first talk of the day was from John Birmingham a writer that I am a huge fan of and have been for a long time now.John talked about his experiences with blogging,tweeting and the relationships he has formed with readers through social media. Typically he had us all in stitches with his anecdotes about writing and the people he encounters on twitter.

John was followed by the amazing Dale Spender who regaled us with facts about books in history and had us all laughing at some quirky facts about women and reading. Such as reading was once considered to be the reason for women getting uterine infections ! HAHA  Yes apparently this was used as a reason to keep women from reading and therefore becoming more educated. It seems hard to believe now but it wasn’t that long ago that reading was a right reserved for aristocracy. What a shame it would have been if we had all been denied the pleasure of story telling.

I wont give details of every talk we had as I would be blogging all day so ill share some highlights. One of my favourite talks was from Jon Page, of Pages and Pages Bookstore in Sydney who is also president of the Australian Booksellers Association. Jon looked at a variety of topics all regarding how we as booksellers will adapt to the digital book age and how we can grab our piece of that pie. If you would like to read more about Jon’s talk I have included a link to Jon’s blog Bite The Book at the bottom of the page.

I also really enjoyed a talk we had from Peter Brantley about reading on a Holodeck. I wont attempt to fully outline his speech as I couldn’t possibly do it justice but the ideas he presented were mind bending to say the least and I urge anyone reading this to google Holodeck its an amazing concept. From virtual reality to gaming with the principles of Kinect software for the XBox this is full immersion story telling at its best ! And frighteningly not the far off int he future if Peter is to be believed.

I also enjoyed hearing about Booki.sh a new and very exciting website here in Australia that has been designed by the very talented Virginia Murdoch and her team. booki.sh aims to bring beautiful ebooks into the hand of Australian readers. For anyone who is interested in purchasing ebooks here in Aus Booki.sh is definitely a website you should check out !

It’s hard to pick and choose the parts that were my favourites of the day as they were all really interesting sessions that left me with a lot of food for thought. I’ll let you know about one more that I found absolutely fascinating and that was a presentation given by Jeremy Lebard about his new software invention Read Cloud which aims to enhance the experience of digital reading for children and school students by adding multi layered extra format to ebooks. I urge anyone to google it and learn more about it for yourself its a really exciting concept that I think is going to change the way our children learn long into the future !

I really enjoyed the whole day and I look forward to many more days like it in the future. Being a part of the industry is not only a passion of mine as I am an avid reader, but it is also exciting for me because it allows me a glimpse in to the future of education, and how our next generation will be reading. I love learning more about this wonderful industry I am so blessed to work in and I enjoy having the opportunity to share some of it with my everyone who reads my blog. The future of the book is exciting and diverse and I cant wait to see where it all goes.