5 Reasons the Modern Reader isn’t reading

book

Most schools rarely give out textbooks anymore and opt out for netbooks, ipads or condense materials into handouts. Books, it seems in most cases. seem uncommon in our day to day lives.

So why does it matter? These changes mean that readers’ habits have been changing with them. Below I noted 5 reasons that I have observed  from myself, students and others around me on why the modern reader has stopped reading.

1. The modern reader is overly distracted.

“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. ” -Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death.

If you think back to your living room, how many things are there to “entertain” you? You may have a gaming system, a TV or 2, cable, Netflix, Hulu, DVDs, smartphones, laptops with interconnection. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget books. Usually books tend to be tucked away in a bedroom or den, or ignored underneath the coffee table.

Now think about lunch time: most of your coworkers are most likely checking their updates on Facebook rather than talking to each other. The potential reader is plugged in to a device at any given time so it’s important to grab their attention. First impressions of your work couldn’t matter more. 

 

2. The modern reader already has too many books to read.

Amazon wishlist anyone? What about your Kindle or other E-reader device? I personally suffer from “I got too many books to read” but I know I will forgo that if a book, article or short story seems interesting enough. Everything else gets neatly stacked on a pile next to my desk and quickly forgotten.

 

3. The modern reader doesn’t read from conventional sources.

I think most everyone understands that now.  I only tend to buy books if I have already read it and I want to display my collection on a shelf. 

As I was trying to get back into some summer reading, I noticed that I reached for my Kindle more often and browse through the Kindle store. It saves me the trouble of driving into town, books usually cost less, and I can change the font and screen brightness. Another habit that I picked up (and other readers I know): my cell phone. I don’t carry my Kindle all the time but if I’m at a place where I have to wait, I usually open up my Kindle App and more recently Wattpad.

That said, for novel-length projects, keep chapters short, sweet and minimize fluff writing. Eyes tire quickly when looking at a screen.

 

4. The modern reader is easily frustrated (and will move on at a moment’s notice).

If the novel or short story is not easily accessible, has major formatting errors in chosen device -or worse, obvious grammatical errors, they are usually out. No questions asked. Time is valuable, especially free time. 

 

5. The modern reader wants a personal connection.

This is the beauty of the Internet Age, we can all so easily connect. I remember reading novels from some of my favorite Scifi authors and thinking, “if only I could just mention how awesome this passage was or ask him how he even got the idea of the novel” without going through the typical and often frustrating routes of snail mail (if they even posted an address on their book).

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” – Seth Godin

Bloggers turned book authors or Wattpad users (and other similar platforms) can now engage with their audience like never before. Nerve wrecking for the author? Yes, sometimes but embracing will only have fans coming back from more.

 

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

So you do you get them reading again? Or reading more? Make it fun, make it accessible, and write a great story worth remembering.

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