Sometimes people ask my why I spend so much time speaking to groups in the Episcopal Church about our need to become a regular part of the online conversation.
It’s because fewer and fewer people are using the tools of the last century to communicate. Newspapers are on life-support. Broadcast TV is hemorrhaging money. Radio with a few notable exceptions has long since stopped being a significant part of the American experience.
And now comes this news that books are on their way out too:
“That’s not to say that books are dying. They’ll always be around, and Amazon can count on a loyal audience for Kindles for some time. Kindle owners say they’re reading more books, although they remain a small portion of the population. But notably, according to an informal survey of Kindle devotees, 59 percent of people who buy the e-readers are over 55. Meanwhile, as a NEA study pointed out two years ago, people under 25 were already doing most of their reading on the web, with only 7 minutes a day devoted to books.
Since that NEA report appeared, the shift in our attention to the web from books has intensified. Just in the past month, I’ve heard several friends — some whose careers are dedicated to writing books — say they are reading fewer of them, if they read them at all. The main culprit that they cite is the web. Whether published in ink or pixels, books are facing tough competition from updates, posts, and a blizzard of free, brief and ephemeral writings that distract eyeballs from the task of digesting 300 pages of text.”
Steve Jobs dismissed the Kindle by saying “No one reads anymore.” People reacted strongly to that charge. Looks like he was right sadly, though perhaps it’s more accurate to say that people no longer invest their time in long books.
Which means that writers and bloggers will have to learn a new medium with a new set of rules if they want to communicate to the next generation.
Which is why I do what I do. (See above…)