Are Books Dying? Do People Still Read Them in 2021?

Print books will not go extinct in the near future. Instead, e-books and audiobooks will make reading more accessible.

In 2021, the world is more technologically advanced than it has ever been. Despite new advancements being made in health, lifestyle, and entertainment, reading (as a leisurely activity) is still persisting.

However, in today’s world, reading can take many different forms such as e-books and audiobooks.

Below are the real reasons why people still enjoy reading paper books, the likelihood of print books disappearing in the future, as well as the ways you can fit reading into your lifestyle!

Are books dying?

Reading books is on the decline, because people tend to look for more passive types of entertainment. However, books themselves, likely won’t disappear entirely, at least not anytime soon.

Are Reading Levels Going Down?

The statistics would suggest that reading (as a pastime or leisure activity) is generally on the decline. This is largely because in recent years, the advancement of technology, streamable media, smart devices and phones have massively occupied society’s attention and diverted it away from reading.

When you look at the data, however, reading has far more benefits than consuming media does. Studies have shown that reading strengthens the neural connections in the brain (specifically those associated with communication and language). In addition, reading can improve concentration, increase vocabulary, and ward off against cognitive decline.

So why do people tend to prefer watching TV, movies, or consuming other types of media as opposed to reading?

Because watching TV, movies, or streaming music is a largely passive activity that doesn’t require much effort on the part of the viewer.

In today’s jam-packed world, people want to come home from a long day of work and settle down to do something relaxing.

In addition, people very rarely only watch one TV episode, or movie. Society has made “binge-watching,” the act of watching more than one episode, movie, or streamable media in one sitting, acceptable (and even popular).

Binge-watching, or binge-consumption of media can wreak havoc on our brain by continually turning on the chemicals in our brain associated with addiction and pleasure.

In addition, research conducted in 2013 at Tohoku University in Japan found that “the more TV the kids watched, parts of their brain associated with higher arousal and aggression levels became thicker. The frontal lobe also thickened, which is known to lower verbal reasoning ability.”

Will Paper Books Be Gone in a Few Years?

Hard copy books still provide value that many people continue to appreciate.

According to BBC.com, “Books themselves, however, likely won’t disappear entirely, at least not anytime soon. Like woodblock printing, hand-processed film and folk weaving, printed pages may assume an artisanal or aesthetic value. Books meant not to be read but to be looked at – art catalogues or coffee table collections – will likely remain in print form for longer as well.”

People continue to buy books to add to their personal collection, host reading clubs, and check-out books from public libraries.

In addition, the used book and re-sell market is gaining popularity as more and more people become environmentally-conscious.

Lastly, the act of giving and receiving books as a gift continues to be a practice that is accepted and valued by many cultures across the globe.

Will E-books Become More Popular than Print Books?

Yes, e-books will likely grow in their popularity in the coming years. According to Kitaboo.com, an important reason that e-books or audiobooks have grown in popularity is the convenience they offer – eBooks are portable and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. Other reasons include:

Accessibility

E-books that are downloaded to smart devices, phones, or tablets can be taken anywhere. In addition, most don’t require an internet connection to be read.

When compared to carrying around books that have physical weight, people who have an active lifestyle and are on-the-go may prefer the convenience and ease of access of e-books.

Easy Content Updates

For authors and publishers, digital copies of their books allow for content updates to be made easily through digital updates. This reduces the waste associated with printing books with edited or re-published content.

Shareable Content

The social feature of ebooks allows for almost instant social interaction. E-book readers can share books with multiple people at one time, and view their comments or opinions via a smart device.

When compared to exchanging books amongst friends in real time, for example, sharing e-books can be a faster mode of communication.

Augmented Reality Experience

The advancement of tech has made reading e-books a much more immersive experience by bringing to life text, images, and videos. Readers can view a computer-generated 3D model of the image, which makes reading and learning a much more immersive experience.

Easy on the Eyes

Most smart devices on the market today come with display and accessibility features that adjust the brightness and readability of e-books based on the time of day. This is especially helpful for those who like to read at night, as it reduces the strain on your eyes through its customization functions.

Interactive Elements

Accessibility features like a “read-aloud” feature makes the e-book experience more inclusive. For the visually-impaired, most smart devices on the market today allow for text, images, and videos to be read aloud or transcribed to provide accurate and real time context.

In addition, e-books are interactively functional because they allow for embeddable media or content. For example, external links can be embedded within text or images and can be accessed simultaneously to the reading to maximize the user experience.

E-book readers can also bookmark certain pages or search words to take them to the desired page or section almost immediately.

Environmental Awareness

E-books cut down on the waste associated with printing books. When up to 300,000 books are published yearly in the United States alone, the impact of purchasing books on the environment (specifically on trees) cannot be ignored.

When you choose to read your books on your digital devices, you may help to reduce your individual carbon footprint.

Large-scale Affordability

For both the publisher and reader, e-books may be the more affordable option. For the author, there is reduced cost when it comes to printing, packaging, and shipping of books.

Lower costs can also be said for the reader; when you purchase an e-book, you receive it instantly and don’t have to pay the additional tax or shipping as you would when purchasing a book in- store or online.

Based on their convenience and accessibility, it is very likely that more and more people will choose e-books over print in the future.

Should You Read Books In Print or Digitally?

The answer to whether you should read books digitally or the old-fashioned way boils down to your preferences. As explored thus far, both methods have their unique benefits.

If you have an active lifestyle and would like reading to be a seamless step in your routine, consider e-books for their convenience.

A large number of people prefer to read through audiobooks. In fact, the annual rate of growth for audiobooks is even surpassing the general media and entertainment annual market growth rate, with the former clocking in at 25-30% as opposed to 4% (Deloitte Insights).

If you enjoy the tactical nature of reading print books, and don’t mind carving out sections of your day to curl up with a book and highlight sentences or passages that resonate with you, consider sticking with hard cover books.

So, is reading going to die?

To summarize, reading will likely not become extinct anytime soon. Books are the backbone of society, and may just be transformed into more accessible packages such as in the case of audiobooks or e-books.

The next time you want to consume any kind of media, do yourself (and your brain) a favor by picking up that book or e-reader!