Hey, tradition-snobs: blow it out your wazoo

As one who lives in the book industry, I constantly hear that “no one reads anymore.” I also hear the bitching of how Stephanie Myers, Snooki, or any other phantom menace is dumbing down those who do read, and that we’re losing culture, tradition, smarts, whatever the fuck you want to call it.

Most of all, I hear how eBooks are “ruining” literature by lowering the bar of entry and flooding the market with crap (f.y.i., “crap” is defined as “books that were not edited by someone in New York who sits in an office in an expensive Manhattan building”).

According to Gallup surveys that date back to 1949, the number of people who are “currently reading novels” has gone up steadily since 1952. There are many reasons for this, the biggest one being the same reason books hit the masses in the first place — technology and accessibility. Thanks to the Internet, physical books ship anywhere. And now, with eBooks, there isn’t even “shipping” anymore: you can get exactly what you want, at the lowest cost in history, and get it from just about any place on the planet.

If the data-gathering methodologies are scientifically sound and reasonably accurate, reading rates are going up. If you don’t like what people are reading, that’s your problem, not mine.

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  1. LadyBane

    I feel like I see people reading on e-books everywhere. Last time I was waiting in line at the movies I saw 2 people aside from myself reading e-books while waiting. I still love paper books: the weight, the smell, the familiarity and nostalgia. But e-books are convenient and you have more books at your disposal as soon as you finish your old book without having to go home and grab one.

  2. steffiebaby140

    From the publishers the problem is they wanted to charge more for ebooks than paperbacks because apparently they take the same amount of work……even though they already have the manuscript in digital format for the hardcover/paperback, and all they really have to do is slap it in ebook format.  Ultimately it is all about wanting to wring out a few more bucks for the publishers even if it meant alienating readers, never a good combination.

  3. JimC

    I’m usually reading 4 books at a time. A podcast book (usually Sigler’s), an audio book, one at work and one at home.

  4. dizbuster

    I have always been a pretty big reader. I think that e-books have made me a bigger reader. There are plenty of free / lower cost books by some terrific authors I never would have heard of were it not for this medium. I certainly don’t think it’s lowering the bar.

  5. woof

    I find that “Snooki” and reading a book in the same paragraph gives me a headache. Its rare  that I don’t see at least a dozen people reading. Sometimes they’re driving at the same time but hey they’re reading. I have two bookshelves full of novels and a stand of audiobooks and another 50 or so on the ‘puter. (audio and ebook and 2300ish podcasts)

  6. steffiebaby140

    Finally!  Someone who is talking about ebooks and technology related book issues this week that makes some sense.  I knew I could count on you FDO!  My head was ready to explode with the flood of “price fixing increases competition” and “increasing prices substantially means we lost money”.  I love me some good common sense, backed up by facts.

    And for the record, I am currently reading 3 novels and starting a 4th tomorrow lol.