Why Don’t We Read?



In today’s day and age, many things are becoming digitized as technology progresses. However, it seems that among this transformation; books were thrown into this process as well—which could be a bad thing.

            According to recent statistics, approximately 74 percent of Americans have read at least one book. While that may sound high, that number has seemed to have plateaued since 2012. Meanwhile, consumption of E-books, audiobooks and digital copies of books has skyrocketed. More specifically, since the year 2016, audiobook consumption in the United States has increased from 14 to 18 percent.

            So, what happened to the old books? Well, as the ‘surprising’ answer turns out: it’s just simple digitalization. People still like to read—quite a lot in fact—just not in the old way. Recent statistics show that apparently only 39 percent of Americans say they read print copy books. Meanwhile, the rest of the percentile goes to those who consume digital copies of literature.

            This change in consumption of literature is important for a variety of reasons. According to many clinical studies, reading print copies of books can allow for many benefits such as improved focus and better writing skills. Now, of course you could say: “But what about digital books?” and while you may get some of the same benefits out of those such as vocabulary expansion; they also have the added effect of a screen tacked on to your eyes.

            You see, books are just made out of paper, but digital books are words locked behind a screen. While screens may be more convenient to the average person, they also emit blue light; which has been linked to health defects such as eye fatigue and even discomfort. So, as people stop reading hard copies of books, they may accidentally be damaging their eyes as well.

            Another simple fact of reading a book is that you can get smarter. As previously mentioned, you can learn vocabulary, write better, and many more. While Audiobooks and digital forms of literature may be more convenient, you may not retain nearly as much information as if you were to read a normal hard copy.

            This new form of reading has clearly taken its toll on the current population as well, with many people falling behind on literacy tests, having poor eyesight due to extensive use of electronics, or some simply not even reading at all.  

            A simple and easy solution to this drastic problem is to easily read about 15-20 minutes a day—not electronically. This fix is quite flexible and should be able to fit into any schedule, not to mention the benefits it provides.

            So, what are you waiting for? Get reading!