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Are books dead? June 3, 2006

Posted by rajAT in blog, book, books, digital library, entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, media2.0.

[Via J Jarvis] Richard Charkin, head of Macmillan publishers has shared these statistics.
On average across the world people spend 6.5 hours a week reading. The most of amount time spent reading is in India (10.7 hours), the least Korea (3.1 hours). UK is very near the bottom at 5.3 hours, Germany and USA a little higher at 5.7 hours.

The Chinese listen to radio less than any other nation (2.1 hours a week), Argentina the most (20.8 hours).

On average people now spend more time on the Internet for leisure (not work) than reading – 8.9 vs 6.5 hours. Mexico uses the Intenet for leisure least (6.3 hours) and Taiwan the most (12.6 hours).

Internet use reduces the time people have for reading by around 20%.

40% of Europeans do not read books.

More people use the Internet for leisure than read books in the developed world.

And people wonder why publishers are spending so much time and effort on digital development.

First of all, it is great to know that we Indians are spending maximum in devouring books. Literacy rate of India is seeing a steady rise over the last decade or so.

The most connected country in the world that is Korea is spending least time reading books. Now there lies the juice. Does this mean that internet is going to kill the books as we know. Has it become an outmoded means of communicating information.

Well Jeff Jarvis thinks so. He has pointed out many problems with the books.

  • They are frozen in time without the means of being updated and corrected.
  • They have no link to related knowledge, debates, and sources.
  • They create, at best, a one-way relationship with a reader.
  • They try to teach readers but don’t teach authors.
  • They tend to be too damned long because they have to be long enough to be books.
  • They are expensive to produce.
  • They depend on scarce shelf space.
  • They depend on blockbuster economics.
  • They can’t afford to serve the real mass of niches.
  • They are subject to gatekeepers’ whims.
  • They aren’t searchable.
  • They aren’t linkable.
  • They have no metadata.
  • They carry no conversation.
  • They are thrown out when there’s no space for them anymore.

In the end – We need to kill the book to save books.

I couldn't agree more.

PS: It is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs. 🙂



1. BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Book.net - June 7, 2006

[…] And rajAT, an Indian blogger, quotes the same list and then says: PS: It is a great opportunity for the entrepreneurs. […]

2. Victor - June 12, 2006

Books will always be a part of the culture. But there is no question that new technologies and communications will help to make books moew available than they have in the past. I should know, because we at bookyards.com have been doing this for the past 5 years. Just look at the proliferation of digital libraries on the web. Gutenberg alone has 2,000,000 ebooks downloads per month. That is good news, and an indication that reading habits are changing.
On our website, we have a good collection of digital libraries, just go to Bookyards “Library Collections – E Books” at http://www.bookyards.com/links.html?type=links&category_id=1780
There are approximately 350 digital libraries seperated alphabetically and by category, with over 200,000 ebooks

3. Dream On ! » My Technorati Ranking - July 22, 2006

[…] Jeff Jarvis, blogger extraordinaire, who blogs at BuzzMachine linked couple of my posts. Desipundit had linked 4 of my posts. […]

4. Yaroslav Stolyarchuk - January 23, 2008

Books are so important to the development of reading habits on young children. Books are also important to the development of imagination and proper thought. We as human beings use nearly all our senses when we engage in our activities. The same goes for reading books. The trouble I have found is not in book popularity but in the sheer expense of stocking a big enough collection of books for me and my family. I am thankful to have received a big box of books from a friend this year. http://www.booksliquidation
.com For literally pennies on the dollar my whole family has hundreds of books to choose from. http://www.booksliquidation
.com will eliminate the costly expense of giving your kids hundreds of childrens titles for less than the price of a few cd’s. Then you are free to spend the rest of your money on the hottest toys or game or other fancy young people are into. I thank GOD for companies like booksliquidation.com for offering books in bulk for middle-lower income families such as I.

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