Where Are the Readers?

Today everyone is a blogger, but where are the readers? A New Yorker cartoon reverses the usual picture of a literary festival with book lovers lined up to get the author’s autograph. The cartoon shows a table and a queue, but authors line up to see “The Reader,” who sits behind the table. On the Internet, articles, blog posts, and comments on blog posts pour forth, but who can keep up with them? And while everything is preserved (or “archived”), has anyone ever looked at last year’s blogs? Rapidly produced, they are just as rapidly forgotten.

—Russell Jacoby, “Big Brains, Small Impact”

One response to “Where Are the Readers?

  1. The last few sentences of Jacoby’s article are particularly important and cutting. Most professors love to bemoan the state of the world but can not, or will not, make the connection to their own sequestered irrelevancy. They willfully reject being a part of a larger discourse in favor of being read by a mere handful of people and seeing their books go out of print after a few months.

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