Steve Jobs famously claimed in the past that people just don’t read books in this age of technology. It seems e-books and e-book readers are encouraging more people to change that.
It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore… Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.
Even the mighty Steve Jobs could be wrong. At least if Scholastic’s 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report is right. According to this new study, kids are more interested in reading e-books even though entertainment gadgets are making it less fun for people to read.
Technology can be a positive motivator to get kids reading – over half of kids (age 9-17) say they are interested in reading an eBook, and a third of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had access to eBooks on an electronic device.
Of course, not all is good news. While kids are more inspired to read e-books, they find it difficult to do so with all the distractions around (shiny gadgets for gaming and entertainment).
Parents express concern that the use of electronic and digital devices negatively affects the time kids spend reading books, doing physical activities, and engaging with family.
A survey by Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that parents may have a good reason to be concerned:
A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth. Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time ‘media multitasking’ (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hours.
So was Steve Jobs right all along? There is no question that the younger generation does not consume books as much as their parents used to. E-book readers such as Kindle will make it easier for people to buy more books and save some money in the process. As far as kids’ reading habits are concerned, the best thing parents can do is encourage and enable their kids to read more. Those shiny gadgets for entertainment will always be there.