The End of Books

Posted on 12/26/2010


I have had all my kids here this Christmas and all their friends have come over. All in all, there’s been a ridiculous measure of youth around the house…and I’ve noticed something.

A. None of these kids read.
B. They all use devices (phone, ipod, ipad, etc) that permit them to stretch out in bed, when it’s time to sleep, and they watch videos or listen to music until they drift off.

Books never enter into the equation.

Sure this is a small sampling, but all of them used digital devices as their “going to bed” time. When I was kid (and still to this day) it was a book that got me to sleep.  These kids don’t want to have to work for their entertainment. They want it injected into their medula via the easiest possible method.

This is only one generation removed from me. I have to wonder what my grandchildren will be doing when they go to bed. How much more portable will the digital world be and how much farther will they be removed from books as a form of entertainment and not just learning?

It may be that at some point, even printed instruction manuals go away and people simply open up their personal tablets and it starts teaching them instead of them reading the book to learn. I mean, take a look at news web pages. They used to be all print, but now most of them are incorporating more and more videos to tell the stories (and the ads that go with them).

This is an ominous movement for the book as we know it and I mean e-books and printed books. Yes, I mean ALL BOOKS. Maybe I am knee-jerking, but it seems to me that printed entertainment books may be looking at their own sunset in the next two or three generations.  The digital world, with its flashing lights and moving pictures is just too alluring to kids.

And don’t bother bringing up how Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, or even Maze Runner are all YA or kids books and are still doing well…it is my humblest belief that those books are selling to way more adults than kids.  They are YA because of the protagonists, but when Mockingjay sells 4 million copies, I’m willing to bet the majority of readers are adults.  (Speculation by me only because the number of adults I know who read it).

Oh books, how I knew thee.

Posted in: Books, Ebooks, Movies, Writing