as browsing turns to clicking > 05/04/05

In 1999, William H. Gass wrote in his In Defense of the Book that readers of books will become increasingly better readers as the internet would be the end to ‘good’ reading. He also regretted the loss of browsing in the sense that you can browse the book shelves in a library and, by serendipity, find what you never would have looked for in the first place.

At the time I disagreed with him, I found browsing the internet a series of serendipitous events - I discovered many texts I never would have come across otherwise - and I still basically do disagree. Yet today, I can see his point as the web interfaces increasingly are made for targeted clicking at the pace of its monetization. The user is made to focus on finding a product, piece of information etc. What once promised to be the evolvement of some kind of hypertextual consciousness has today regressed into targeted infomania. This is also the point when reading stops.


William H. Gass. "In Defense of the Book.", last accessed 19 Jul 2015,

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