A Student of History

May 20, 2006

Publishers fear drop in reading

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 11:14 am

This is from an AP story found in the 20 May Washington Times, and other papers as well:

The publishing industry enjoyed a strong year in 2005, with increases in both revenue and the number of books sold. But projections for long-term growth remain limited because people increasingly don't read, according to a study released yesterday.

Of course the way our culture is today, the story's "angle" is that this is bad news for….business!!!  We dutifully get the news that "The average amount of time and money spent by the general population on books has been declining and we don't see anything that's going to change that," said Bob Wharton, also a senior researcher at the Institute for Publishing Research, based in Bergenfield, N.J.

But what about the real cultural and social impact of this news–why doesn't the story say anything about what it means for us that people no longer are buying books?  Does that also mean that they are not reading as much?  Or are books now too expensive, so that many just go to libraries?  I can tell by the experiences I have will my undergraduate students that they indeed do not read much at all, besides pop magazines. 

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