Rudy Shur, founder of Square One Publishers recently wrote an interesting article about the future of books and reading in general. Although the gist of his article was pondering the relevance of publishers as well as the production of both ebooks and tree books, as a proponent of reading and increasing literacy, I wonder about the future of our children and the expansion of our minds and imaginations.
The following edited excerpt gave me pause:
“ In the 1950s, America was a country of readers. If you couldn’t afford a television or a night out, you could always afford a new mass paperback for twenty-five cents. For the returning vets of WW2, reading was a form of entertainment that had caught on when mass-market paperbacks led the way with inexpensive, widely appealing books. For baby boomers, it wasn’t about being smart or well-educated; it was about growing up and seeing your parents, siblings, or friends sitting on the sofa reading a book. People were reading for the simple joy of it. Reading could hold your attention and take you anywhere the writer wanted you to go. Throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, reading continued to be a great source of pleasure for many…
However, in 1990, the age of computers was upon us…and the effects of this true revolution changed the way Americans entertained themselves. Today, that change is all too evident: Walk down any city street and watch half the people you pass intently involved in texting, twittering, or Facebooking (if there is such a word). As soon as a new edition of a popular electronic game becomes available, it’s hard to ignore the astronomical sales it garners. Or just watch your children or grandkids playing for hours on a computer or DS or Smart-phones. The arguments about whether e-books will be the wave of the immediate future pale when you consider that the new and growing millennium generation no longer considers reading books as entertainment. In fact, they do not consider reading at all. Small bits of information called sound bites are becoming the norm.
While other countries in this world focus on educating their children, Americans seem more concerned with amusing them. Yes, these electronic time-wasters do serve a purpose: They act as baby-sitters or simply keep children out of parents’ hair. However, the responsibility of bringing children up who value education, and hence read, in any form, is no longer the priority it once was. Do we know how many homes do not have books? How many children have never been exposed to the pleasure of reading or being read to?”
Are we facing a future without books? There was a time that one could predict the financial success of a person by the size of his/her library of books. The more books one read, the more success was bred. What do you think? I would love to hear from you and learn your experience.
Our motto here at Be the Star You Are!® remains “To be a leader, you must be a reader. Read, lead, succeed.” Is reading becoming irrelevant?
Email me at Cynthia@bethestaryouare.org.
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Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy, positive media, and life skills.