Colin Robinson in The New York Times laments about how we as a society are finding it harder and harder to focus on reading and on good books. He attributes this to the overwhelming number of books being produced and the failing institutions where you might be able to find suggestions on what books to be reading (i.e. the library, the brick book store, the book reviewer).
I, being a bit of a purist, tend to lean with Mr. Robinson’s point of view on this. I think the new media outlet options of iPads, iPhones, Kiddles, Nooks, iBooks, and other assorted digital readers are great for portability and opening the reading world to, possibly, a new set of readers. This comes with price though. With digital reducing the prices in book (which is a good thing) we start losing the “brick and mortar” stores, libraries are becoming used less and less, and with the failing of the print newspaper, they are cutting back in areas and one of them is for the book reviewer, who can also be replaced by all the reviews that are listed on the web page, which can be easily manipulated by either supporters of the authors or, more likely, the publishing companies.
I will diverge a bit from Mr. Robinson’s conclusions when he says, “Overall book sales have been anemic in recent years, declining 6 percent in the first half of 2013 alone.” I would pose this question; there has been a (unnecessarily) prolonged fiscal crisis in our country with a high number of unemployed, how much of that decline is due to people cutting back on their entertainment budgets?