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"The next time someone tells you the Internet killed reading books ..."

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/the-next-time-someone-says-the-internet-killed-reading-books-show-them-this-chart/255572/
     
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    You mean it's just someone else spouting off unknowingly about the good old days?
     
  3. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Of course, there could be other factors for the increase, like more access to college education, more disposable income to buy books, books being available electronically, etc. I'm just saying that I hope we're not implying that the Net is responsible for boosting the reading of books.
     
  4. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Active Member

    Not to mention the printing press was invented in 1950, so books were still pretty rare in 1957.[/thinks theworldbeganwhenespnlaunched]
     
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I didn't even think about that connection. I think it's the factors you named. Of course, to know if the Internet has actually been responsible for decreasing America's book-reading, we'd have to know how many people would be reading books if there were no Internet. But at least we know that the "No one reads books any more" cliche is wrong.
     
  6. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I don't see how it was ever a real argument. We've had three series, at least, come out in the past 15 years that have sold like wildfire: Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games.

    Sure, I can imagine some nostalgist saying "These kids don't read any more," while shaking a cane at the sky. But you could get those same people to swear the three-point line and the dunk have lowered the quality of play in basketball.
     
  7. JR

    JR Active Member

    As much as I like the result of the poll, there's a problem with the original question

    Do you happen to be reading any books or novels at present?

    Well, first of all, novels are books. The fact that the question differentiates the two is kinda troublesome. It's like people who come into a bookstore and ask for a "fiction novel" Huh?

    Secondly, there may be a lot of people who would never say "no" because they don't want to think of themselves as uncool or uncultured.

    Even if this poll is accurate, there are a whole bunch of reasons why people may be reading more.

    As someone who started in the book biz in the early 70's, I can do a Ragu length post on what I think are the reasons but not tonight.
     
  8. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    E-Readers are helping people read more...

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/07/BUJL1NVGKV.DTL&type=tech

    skip a few graphs and you get this amazing statistic...

     
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    The ratio of people reading books to people writing books, though, surely has plummeted. The problem is more with supply than demand.

    Also I don't know that books as they exist now are the kind of books that would be evidence of a more literate society. Self-help, vapid autobiographies and Chicken Soup For the ____________ Soul really test the boundaries of the notion that reading is inherently a great thing. One of the recent smash successes was the "Shit My Dad Says" compendium.
     
  10. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Pulp fiction and dime novels were the best-selling books of the 19th century.
     
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    And the Royale with cheese was the No. 1 fast food
     
  12. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Hold on a minute. That stat MAY mean something, and it may mean nothing.

    Let's take two people in 1985, both of whom read books, one of whom is more inclined to read them.

    Reader A reads 24 books a year, Reader B 15.

    When the e-book comes along, who is the most likely to purchase one? Reader A (and those like him).

    Fast forward to 2012. Reader A is reading 24 books a year . . . on his e-reader. Reader B is reading 15 physical books.

    The e-reader didn't cause the gap. It was always there. It's just that someone who buys an e-reader is likely more inclined to read anyway.
     
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