As a person who loves reading, I always find it surprising that some people go years on end without picking up a book. The truth is, finding a reader nowadays is almost as rare as getting discount at the cinema or finding a four-leaf clover. There aren’t that many of us out there, and the numbers are reducing every year. A startling report released by Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project regarding young American’s reading habits stirred quite a debate online. The figures in the report show that on average, 8 in 10 Americans read one book a year. The statistic is based on readers between the age of 16-29 – an indication of the youth’s disinclination towards literature.
Visually Driven Generation
An estimated 75% of individuals read one sole print book a year. Now this is hardly a surprising statistic, however is this one that we should portray as an achievement? Whatever reason has contributed to this depressing statistic, I think it is safe to say that the future belongs to a visually inclined generation, rather than the literature indulged, imagination-focused book geeks of previous decades. The internet has made it far too easy to engage in reading smaller bits of information in a quicker way – therefore reducing the need to pick up a book to read for pleasure.
One aspect to carefully consider is the rise of the e-book. I have begrudgingly accepted the fact that spine books are going out of fashion, nevertheless I refuse to invest in a kindle/tablet. The feel of holding a book, turning its pages, dog-earing your progress and placing a book on a shelf is unrivaled by that of holding a sleek, slim and light tablet. Despite my disapproval of this technological advancement, I think it maybe the only way of salvaging the future of literature and reading.
The Rise of E-Books
Having been introduced over the period of the last 5-6 years, e-book readers have taken over the publishing industry and have served as an easy means of reading text. Their innovative designs and interactive tools enable readers to enhance their reading experience, therefore completely replacing the traditional print books. From the Amazon Kindle to Apple’s iPad series, it is no surprise that each manufacturer is going the extra mile to create a product that surpasses the previous in terms of optimizing each individual’s reading experience.
The philosophy behind these inventions is simple: why carry around a 1050-page Gone with the Wind when you can simply download it into your e-library? Your e-book readers are accessible to your whenever and wherever – with the presence of it in your bag being the ultimate indication that you are a cool kid. Irrespective of my issue with e-books, it is evident that they are here to stay, and are the sole hope for the future of books altogether.
What are your thoughts on the whole ‘one book a year’ situation? Are e-books the only way to re-engage people into reading?