Sitting in a somewhat crowded ground floor of my university library, I look around and not one person has a physical copy of a book in their hand, that’s excluding those who have text books in front of them as it is not by choice but compulsory within their chosen course. I am honestly shocked that no-one around me is indulging in a book, losing themselves in a story that isn’t theirs, forgetting about everything around them and truly relaxing. Im not one to talk as I am not reading a book myself but that doesn’t mean that I don’t at all, in my spare time of course I enjoy a good read but it’s scary to think that probably 80% of the people around me don’t read or even if they used to they probably don’t anymore. Why? Because the internet is taking over, not a book in sight (apart from the lonely ones on the shelves all around us) but mobile phones in every hand, tablets, laptops and the list goes on.
How funny is it that in a place where there are thousands of books on every topic imaginable no one is reading? People no longer come to the library purely to pick up a book and read, unless they have to for their course or because they need some quick assistance on a topic, they find that one chapter they are looking for and that’s it, their reading is done. That is not good enough for me. Call me old fashioned but when I come into a library I expect total silence and trust me that does not happen at our university library, perhaps because it’s full of students and no one cares about anyone else, but even in a public library it is not as silent as you would expect it to be, someone is always whispering, someone is always eating and there is always that one annoying person with earphones in blasting music that is far too loud because you can hear it five tables away.
What is the reason for this though? Has the internet really taken over, is the digital form of a book more enjoyable than a physical one? I wouldn’t know because I refuse to join that group, I hate the idea of a kindle or the idea of reading a book online and flicking your pages not with your own hands and fingers but by the click of a mouse, that is just strange to me, it doesn’t feel familiar. I am someone who has always loved reading and I am always on a look out for a new book, perhaps not as often now that I am at university as the workload can get hefty but I still make time and I still do read. I think that maybe it is because I have learnt to appreciate a book and value the knowledge you can gain from it, it doesn’t have to be an academic book, you can draw so much information and knowledge from every genre of book, you not only immerse yourself in a world that isn’t yours and live a life that isn’t your own but you also (subconsciously) learn what is good and what is bad writing, you form your own opinions and become more critical and analytical and that is very important in all subjects.
I know that people do still read, I am not totally blinded to that but I have come to realize that those people who read are in the minority, yes there are sellout authors still now which means people must be reading and buying books but that doesn’t erase the fact that majority of people don’t, they would rather browse online or hold a kindle in their hands and by no means am I saying that a kindle isn’t a book because of course it is but it is just not the same is it?
For those people who love to read and physically hold a book in their hands will understand where my upset is coming from. I hope.