Sunday, August 12, 2007

Are People Still Reading Books?

This past spring, when in California for the Conversation Among Masters Conference we spoke about publishing books, how many books are indeed published every year, and what the future of print books looks like, especially in the day of the Internet, blogs and audio. According to technorati, there are 71 million blogs online, that we know of. There has to be a reason, right? And yes, some of them have to be good as they're consistently attracting readers. Does this replace reading books? Can it ever replace reading books?

I am a book junkie, there’s no question about it and can never get enough to read, for my profession, life, or to feed and nourish my imagination but truthfully how many are still reading and how often? By virtue of you reading this blog, you're reading, yet how many books have you read this year?

My clients’ lives are so busy, that by the time they get home, spend time with the family, do whatever needs to be done at home etc, they have no energy left other than to perhaps walk the dog, and go to sleep.

Many collect books to read on their holiday as that’s the only time they have to pick up a book, but what are they missing?

I maintain that those who can read and don’t are functional illiterates; don’t as in never, by choice, not sporadically as time allows. There’s a difference. There is so much richness to books, all literature in various forms, that our world would be very mundane without the concepts, mental images and perspectives that come out of books of any kind.

As long as there are readers, there will be books written and published.

A few years ago a colleague challenged me to read a minimum of four books a year. For me never a problem! I read that a month. The caveat was to read books in areas I didn’t know anything about, not in relation to my work or hobbies or anything I already knew. He wanted me to grow in knowledge and awareness and one way to do it was to pick up a book about something or someone I knew nothing about. Talk about an eye opener!

How many do that on a regular basis I wonder? When you buy a book, a non-fiction book (assuming you do buy some non-fiction) is it about something that will increase your awareness of the rich world we live in? Ultimately, especially in my line of work, it gives me context in areas I never took into consideration before. How rich would your life be if you learned something new or about someone who made an impact in some way in this world that you never even thought or heard of? The more you learn the easier it will be to lead.

So now I’ve taken this one step further. I’m reading 4 books a year minimum on subject matter I have no prior knowledge of…am reading 4 new blogs a week to see what’s out there and commenting on them as well. The community of interactive dialogue because of that is blowing me away. Try it. And let me know your thoughts if you’ll share them. I'd love to hear.

Donna Karlin

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