“People just don’t read books anymore.”
I was walking down South St. with a friend, and my legs had stopped moving. Atlantic Books was utterly empty. Abandoned. Immediately, I pulled out my smart-phone and – attempting unsuccessfully to guard it from the rain – I googled “Atlantic Books”. The whole chain went under a year ago, apparently while I was buried alive in some used bookstore somewhere. It may sound like an extreme overreaction, but I began to panic. How did I miss this? Who will sell books down the shore? Is B&N next? I’m all for indie-shops and second-hand, but they have to come from somewhere.
“What’s wrong?” my friend asked.
“I didn’t realize Atlantic Books closed down,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said, “People just don’t read books anymore.”
Is he right, do people not read books anymore? After I graduate with my degree in Writing Arts, I’m going for Library Science. I’m going to spend my life writing and caring for books.. or at least, I thought I was. Can I still do that if only a few select others care about them, as well?
My friend later clarified to me that he meant only paper books. But whether he meant people don’t read anything anymore, or people only use e-readers, the fact is it’s just not true.
The Pew Research Center found in April, 2012, that “80% of Americans 16 and older say they read at least occasionally for pleasure.” USC Dornsife in conjunction with the LA Times also concluded in April, 2012, that 86% of Californians who owned e-readers still read physical books, and 4 out of every 5 Californians had read a book for leisure in the past month from the date of the survey. Oh, and people must still be heading to their local libraries for paper books, because the majority of US citizens aren’t aware that you can take out e-books now from most locations.
The e-reader is a fantastic technological and social leap, which is increasing in popularity. But paper books aren’t going away quite yet. The important thing is, whether you’re reading from a page or a screen, people are still reading.