Monday, 24 September 2012

How Technology Is Changing Readers Habits

In my first post, I mentioned that I was an avid reader as a child. I could finish a book in a day – no matter the length. Fast forward three decades later, I was struggling to finish a book in a year (I kid you not!). With a busy schedule and a cluttered lifestyle, I joined many a book lovers who struggled with lugging their books about much less reading them. To make matters worse for me, being sat in front of a screen all day made my eyes tired. The last thing I wanted to do was to pick up a book and read. I wanted to indulge in my passion but the current format just was not working for me.

And so, that was how it was for me…that was until, thanks to technology and digitising of books, I could read again. I discovered audio books which I could download on my computer or iPod (this was a few years back where there was not an iPhone in sight much less an iPad). The joy of it was like many others, I no longer needed to feel guilty with the bulging unread book in my bag. With my audio book, I could read anywhere I chose. With the advent of this technology, I could do the garden or house work and wolf down the latest Karen Kingsbury or Brian Tracy.
The great thing about audio books is that you can get the abridged or unabridged versions. So, if you needed to swat on the latest business book, you could do that quite quickly whilst getting the gist of the book (unless you know how to speed read). The major supplier at the time was Audible albeit the .Com site as there was no .UK site . But now there are other retailers in the playing field – not forgetting the ‘Big Daddy’ of them all – Amazon – who happens to now own Audible.
Since getting into audio books circa 2005, I have read well over a hundred titles (and that’s being modest) and I believe I now have more audio books and II can proudly say I have read over 95% of all purchased titles, in comparison to some paper/hard backs sitting on my shelf for over 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, I still can't resist a paperback as I sorely miss being able to scribble notes in my book (in my own unreadable handwriting) or fold the edges though this can be done with eBooks. Plus, I struggle to pass up on a book sale :-) There is just something about paper….
Anyway, I thought audio books were the bees knees until eBooks showed up (well, I say showed up but in actual fact, they have been around a lot longer than they are given credit for – even in its crudest form). Along with their eReaders, you can quite comfortably take ten or more books on holiday or to work without the extra baggage. And as we know, we have seen eBook sales shoot through the roof. There is not a day another best seller is not announced. So I reckon, we are on to something here.
Now, if this is the impact eBooks have had on us adults, it would be interesting to research into the impact it has had on the reading habits of children – from pre-schoolers to university students.
Anyone interested in that piece of research?

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