Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are Books Dying Out?

Admit it--when you need to do some research, do you pop down to the library and find a reference text? Or do you boot up your computer and find Google, or Yahoo, or MSN, or.... Well, you get the picture.

Then there are ebooks. You can download a book onto a PDA or your computer and read it on an airplane, while you're in the doctor's waiting room, during the time in your car while waiting for the kids to get out of school. And if you don't want to read, you can download a movie onto your laptop and watch it. Instant entertainment. Immediate gratification. And no danger of paper cuts.

Like a lot of folks trying to get work published in the area of Christian fiction, I've been a bit disappointed at some of the changes I've seen recently. Smaller houses are gobbled up by larger ones, some of the mainstays have severely cut the number of novels they publish per year and others have essentially done away with that line. One editor to whom I talked at a Christian Writers' Workshop last year asked for proposals for two of my novels, then emailed me about three months later and apologized because his house had decided not to add fiction to their line--not enough demand. Add that to the things I've already described, and you get the question I've asked in the title: are books dying out?

That's why I'm not surprised by the results of a recent survey, indicating that only 25% of the adults queried actually read a book--one single book--in the past year. The article didn't say whether all the people surveyed were literate. You see, we have only a 70 to 75% literacy rate in our country! Women and retirees read the most, and religion and popular fiction were the categories that got the most action.

No matter. I'm still going to keep writing. Someone out there is still reading, and as long as I think I have something to say that they might find entertaining or enlightening I intend to keep pounding at the keys of this computer. How about you?

3 comments:

Anne Mateer said...

I have to admit I saw that same polled and mourned. As a writer, I frowned. As I reader, I grieved. I felt the same when I heard that a major law firm in town will not have a law library in their new firm offices. All resources will be online.

I confess, I love the feel of a real book in my hands, whether reading for pleasure or doing research. I love a library or a bookstores, shelves reaching to the ceiling, lined with books of all sizes and shapes. But especially in the research area, I've succombed to technology because my life is too busy to spend turning thousands of pages in order to find one sentence of information. I hate that, but it's true.

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks for the information, Richard. Good post.

A prisoner of hope,
Megan

Megan DiMaria said...

Thanks for the information, Richard. Good post.

A prisoner of hope,
Megan