Who’s Reading and on What?

Who’s Reading and on What?

Trevor White, Staff Writer

I haven’t read a book in a while, and the only times I hear about reading is for English in school. In the times we are living, reading isn’t the only thing to keep us entertained anymore, so I often get caught up in other things. I wonder how many people actually read for pleasure? In a world with so many other things people can do, I wonder who is reading books? Also, on what medium are you reading on? The medium might tell something about you. Like if you have a Kindle, you might like reading a lot but like changing the font size. Or if you read on an Ipad you might prefer reading stories with a lot of illustrations like comics over novels. Whether it is a paper-back, or iPads, or Kindles, what are people using the most? The importance of knowing what device people use will give greater insight into what they like reading, especially now in a time where people are relying on the entertainment and comfort of stories more than ever.


It seems that the amount of people that are reading, specifically in this country, has decreased in recent years. Nowadays, there are so many other things you can do to pass time besides reading, such as playing video games, watching movies and YouTube, or listening to music. In the past, if you weren’t doing something outside, you only had a few options indoors, one of which was reading. According to a Psychology Today article by Peter Toohey, it seems leisure reading “has been in decline since the 1980s, since well before the widespread adoption of distractions such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops.” I thought new tech was a big reason for the drop in reading, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. My theory is that the rise of video games was more of an 80s and 90s craze, and home video could be a reason also. People didn’t have as much of an urge to go to movie theaters or arcades, as they could be entertained by those things at home. If that is the case, then people wouldn’t have to rely on reading at home as a last resort for entertainment anymore. Also MTV was huge and kept people in their houses staring at their TV’s for hours. 

The article goes on to state that the dip in reading doesn’t change the fact that humans are fascinated by stories, and just because reading is becoming the least preferred method, doesn’t mean people aren’t consuming stories  The article states, “We humans seem to have an inexhaustible taste for [stories] – it’s one of the key features that separates us from other animals.” If people aren’t getting entertained by literature, then they are probably getting it from movies or music; the desire for stories isn’t restricted to only books. Currently people get a lot of their stories from TV – newer audiences are growing more accustomed to long form stories that take time to progress. Also, there are now so many channels and streaming services for people to use that weren’t possible before.


The other thing I wanted to know was are people reading stories on books specifically or on other devices like iPads or Kindles? Whether or not you use a Kindle or an iPad might predict the amount you read or determine the kinds of genres you prefer, like novels or comics. According to this article by ebookfriendly.com, Kindles are beneficial specifically when compared to iPads because they “ [save] your eyes. Its screen doesn’t need a light to produce a visible image. In other words: you are not looking into the source of light.”  Also in the article, it goes on to state that iPads work better for comics than for novels. For Kindles, “Problems start to appear if you want to read ebooks that contain illustrations, graphs, or tables.” I figured Kindles would be more popular, especially with older people, where you can change the font size and the brightness. As it turns out, audio books are pretty popular. The Psychology Today article states, “The United States continues to be the biggest market for the audio format and in 2017, there was over $2.5 billion dollars in sales.” Now people can just listen to a story being told to them, usually while doing something else like driving. It seems with all the technology we have at our disposal now, people more than ever would rather be told a story without having to do any reading. It’s a natural extension of what we are accustomed to, a world where information is quick and almost instant on iphones; people don’t want to waste time or brain power if they don’t have to.


Therefore, just because reading in the traditional sense is declining, people are still consuming stories. People are still engaging their imaginations creatively, though these days, it’s usually through TV. It’s good to know that stories aren’t going away, even when the main medium of receiving them does. Despite our new ways of getting stories, people will always be entranced by them, historical or fiction, and if they still enjoy them, the format doesn’t matter that much.