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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is Book Reading Dying?


The love for reading books is gradually dying and has sounded a death knoll for many a book stores across the country! Prominent book stores that once flourished and had steady clientele have steadily dwindled and some are on the brink of closure! The railway journeys were incomplete without books as companions from the Wheeler stalls!

Most of us know of the reasons, namely the new alternatives now available in terms of the ever increasing reach of media, entertainment, reality shows, social networking sites and the boom of internet! Those who still love to read prefer to download the books in e-book format now on their ‘Kindle ‘devices and can read these at convenience.
There is excitement which never seems to abate in today’s world, unlike in past where spicy stories came out only once in a while and life, otherwise moved at a slow pace! There was always enough time to listen to music or read books and magazines in a leisurely manner! One could choose the books of liking be it a romantic, adventure, horror or cult stories! These days the newspaper is always full of stories of intrigue, ransom, murder, mayhem, terror on almost every page! The same is true for media like TV where just by a flick of channel similar stories in more graphic details are available instantly! Why should one spend money or make an effort to walk to the bookstore to search for books! Block buster stories are available 24X7 on the go on smart phones too!

If one is looking for quality reading then subscription to online magazines, is available at the fraction of cost of the print media! Unlike in past, most of the places of residence have shrunk.  Also, with increased mobility, the storage space is depleted to an extent that keeping a personal library of books is tantamount to luxurious living!

Children are very rarely told stories by parents at home due to pressure of time. In most metro cities they are brought up in crèches, so how can they develop love for reading! They get hooked to video games at an early age even as toddlers. In many cases their love for instant gratification is best met by gaming devices as they grow up. The characters of Hanuman, Tenali Rama, Grimm’s Fairy tales, Charles Dickens, Perry Mason, James Bond, Sherlock, are now easier to watch than read!


In a recent survey it came to light that most of the English teachers in schools do not know the spellings of some very simple words and the reasons for same do not need much explanation! The widespread use of abbreviated SMS language has eroded the culture of reading well written English, though thankfully most formal correspondence still requires use of grammar. Life is all set to change at a pace much beyond our imagination and even though there are many alternatives, the book reading will continue. The whiff of new pages in the book and glossy covers will continue to entice the new generation of readers!

PS: Image Kind courtesy Google

26 comments:

  1. I wonder--at the last sentence.The sweet scent of a new book is appealing,but do kids have the time or the inclination for it?
    Another fact which spoils the pitch is the absence of a variety of children's magazines(the printed ones) to entice the children.In the old days Chandamam and many other magazines were excitedly grabbed by us the moment the vendor threw them over :(

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    1. Ha ha true! Not many look at books now! You took me back in time when even I used to rush for issues of Parag, Chandamama like you described:)

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  2. Reading of hard bound books may have dwindled. But I dont agree that book reading habit has dwindled, I started reading a lot more when I acquired a kindle 2 years ago. In fact my reading habit has actually increased prodigiously. My daughter,grand daughter & wife are voracious readers of hard bound books whether sourced from libraries, book fairs or seconds picked up from flea markets. TV or social media has hardly affected our reading habit,
    Of course the internet also provides a great opportunity for surf reading and acquiring profound knowledge.So spending time on the net is also tantamount to reading.

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    1. Rama believe me there are not many like you though the information flow has increased exponentially! I was just trying to differentiate between the two but you may be right:)

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    2. Of course three drops in the ocean(us) does not make an ocean or one swallow a summer. We three may be part of a fast depleting group of focused.readers.

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    3. As long as there are people like you there is a hope:)

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  3. I hope book reading doesn't die and I am saying this not because I am a writer but its wonderful to disappear inside the pages of a story and discover a whole new world. Reading is any day better than watching crappy reality shows on TV or playing silly games or wasting time on Social Media :(

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    1. No pleasure ca beat reading a good book, Rachna :)

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  4. Talk About the book srall at the railway station :) the habit is still There Rahul - kindle or paper ....reading is still reading right ?

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    1. No denying Jaishree:) reading is reading . I was just trying to differentiate I between acquiring knowledge and reading for pleasure:)

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  5. True. It has come down a lot. The current generation of school and college kids dont seem to be too fascinated by books because of the other forms of learning and entertainment. But I still prefer the oldschool way of reading from a book. Not too comfortable with Kindle!

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    1. Ashwani , am glad we are on same page:)

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  6. My railway journey never began without a book in hand. At the platform my eyes would look for the book store first and then the train. Kindle is gradually becoming a preferred choice but I am not yet into it. There is something about the hard copy that still pulls me to books. Oh yes, the whiff of new pages is enticing.

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    1. I know you read a lot more tan most and it is something I truly am impressed wit:) Also, it shows in all your pursuits, Manjulika :)

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  7. Reading is encouraged in schools, so I don't think it's dying...

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    1. Thanks Lady Fi! I wish it does not die:)

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  8. I am a victim of mobility. I move a lot and hence I shifted to ebooks. I hate SMS language. No wonder even teachers can't get their spellings right. Even I am one of those, but in case I put the blame on autocorrect or MS Word. Technology has deteriorated the quality of life in this case.

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  9. It is sad that more and more bookstores are closing down. It is true that e-books and TV and video games are the reason.
    But I remember reading a piece that said people are reading more these days thanks to e-books.

    I do believe a lot adults have gone back to reading because of these gadgets that facilitate reading, be it the e-readers or the ipads, even smartphones.

    I'm actually a part of the kindle pubic. Browsing books in the kindle store is not exciting as browsing books in a real bookstore where you pick up paperbacks and hardcovers and turn over physical pages. But it is because of my kindle that I get some reading done. I can read in bed without switching on the lights and waking the kids up. :)

    Spellings! I'm forgetting mine, thanks to auto-correct. :D

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    1. I too love technology and enjoy e books ! It is a matter of preference but my only concern was the constant deterioration in grammar and poor editing do not leave a very healthy state of mind:(

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  10. Agree Divya. Readers seem to be on the rise due to ease and convenience of accessing books online ! Yes you must carefully watch out for your spellings as these cannot be corrected :) There is a glaring spelling error though. Read your comment carefully and you will find it !

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    1. One has to be very vigilant while using auto correct to avoid disasters:)

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  11. Very true... the lack of time, change in lifestyles, and the availability of alternate technologies has worn down the importance of the luxury of holding a paperback in the hand and reading it....
    Though all hope is not lost yet.. there is still a small (though limited) breed of homo sapiens who still find pleasure in turning a page :)

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  12. Thanks Dwiti! You said it all in so few words :)

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  13. your post reminded me the following line, I read recently....
    "If the size of your television is bigger than your bookshelf then you don't qualify to speak.."
    nice post Rahul sir.
    Regards....!

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    1. Lovely comparison , Monica:)Glad to see you bhack after a long time! Hope you are doing well!

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