Reading in the age of the Internet

Bibliographic details

Allington, D. and Pihlaja, S. (2016) ‘Reading in the age of the Internet’. Language and Literature 25 (3): 201–210.


This article is both a literature review of scholarship on (predominantly literary) reading and an introduction to a special issue of Language and Literature that extends that body of scholarship through empirical study of specifically Internet-based reading practices. In lieu of an abstract, here is the beginning of the article:

Reading has changed with consumer adoption of digital technologies, and its changes are many: from the new ways in which users of such technologies can now access texts to the opportunities those users now have for discussing them online. Given technological developments, changes in behaviour may seem inevitable. However, for researchers investigating reading and interpretation in the internet age, questions remain, as they do with any social activity online, about whether ‘new’ practices are indeed new, and about how they are inflected through mediation on the internet (Herring, 2004). How research- ers – and particularly those interested in the interaction of readers with texts and of readers with one another around texts – can uncover, describe, and analyse these changes is an important emerging topic. The articles in this issue make an attempt to offer methods for investigating how the internet and associated technologies affect reading. They look in particular at how readers reproduce, appropriate, and subvert traditional practices for reading and interpreting texts in online environments.

(Allington and Pihlaja 2016, p. 201)


This published version of this article is available for free download from the publisher’s website at the following address: