Why People Still Read Books and Other Fascinating News on the Web

October 9, 2013

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  1. The Web Didn’t Kill Books

    The digital revolution has left its share of burnt-out carcasses on the side of the information superhighway. Just ask anyone who runs a newspaper or works in the music business. But all of old media has not succumbed to the Internet’s wrath. The book business is still alive, and in many ways it’s thriving. Sure, many of us have switched to ebooks which cost less than hardcovers. But we’re still handing over ten bucks for what is a huge margin product. From New Republic’s Evan Hughes: Books Don’t Want to Be Free. And people still want to read them.

    + Here’s another reason that books are worth their price. Reading literary fiction can sharpen your ability to understand the emotions of others. If it’s a really good book, it can also help you ignore them.

  2. A Mexican Cartel in Chicago

    “What Al Capone was to beer and whiskey, Guzmán is to narcotics, [except Guzmán] is clearly more dangerous than Al Capone was at his height.” Al Capone chose Chicago as his headquarters in part because it is America’s transportation hub. Mexico’s Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Loera and his Sinaloa Cartel have made Chicago their American headquarters for much the same reason. But there are other factors that make Chicago the perfect place for the cartels to do business. From Chicago Magazine’s Jason McGahan: Why Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel Loves Selling Drugs in Chicago.

  3. Lady in Fed

    If Janet Yellen is confirmed as the next head of the Federal Reserve, she will — according to Quartz — become the most powerful woman in U.S. history. So who is Janet Yellen? Well, here are six things you should know about her, nine amazing facts about her, and five things you should know about Obama’s Fed chair nominee.

    + Yellen is supposed to be the safe pick and a person who will be confirmed easily. But with tensions running high in DC, you can still probably expect an ugly showdown.

  4. Common Ground

    American have finally found something we agree on. We hate Congress. In a recent AP poll, Congress had an approval rating of 5%.

    + Starbucks will give you a free cup of coffee if you buy a drink for a fellow patron. They are hoping that the pay-it-forward spirit will motivate politicians to work together. Here’s another thing that might work. Vote better.

    + Thanks to the shutdown, families of fallen soldiers aren’t receiving benefits.

  5. The Best Hour of Sleep

    The more we study the effects of sleep, the more we realize how important it is to everything from improving physical health to reducing psychological stress. From the BBC: How much can an extra hour’s sleep change you?

    + Researchers are trying to understand the healthy obese.

  6. Hugely Popular Chinese Philosophy

    Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory is the third most popular course at Harvard. Why are so many young and smart people interested in the Chinese society of 2,500 years ago? Maybe the professor is right when he says that “this course will change your life.”

  7. The Characters Behind 140 Characters

    “After a three-month stint writing code for an Alcatraz boat-tour outfit, he was living in a tiny San Francisco apartment. He had recently been turned down for a job at Camper, the shoe store. His luck changed one morning as he was sitting at Caffe Centro off South Park.” That’s how Nick Bilton describes Jack Dorsey who, shortly thereafter, would help create what became known as Twitter. From the NYT Magazine: The Savage Dawn of Twitter. Ironically, at that very moment I was in my office about 300 yards away and wearing a pair of Campers. So close…

  8. No Pint Left Behind

    Finally some government legislation we can all get behind. A couple of Michigan lawmakers are pushing for a new amendment to make sure customers actually get a full 16 ounces when they order a pint of beer.

    + Meet Dave, A 19-year-old craft beer with a $2,000 price tag.

  9. A Six-Minute Breaking Bad?

    Six weeks ago, Dreamwork’s Jeffrey Katzenberg offered to pay $75 million for three extra episodes of Breaking Bad. He didn’t get the deal. But his plan was pretty interesting. He was going to break up the episodes into six minute chunks and make you pay to watch them.

  10. The Bottom of the News

    About 40 percent of your chicken nugget is made up of something that could loosely be described as meat. Come on. That number is a lot higher than you expected.

    + 32 of the most popular toys from the last 145 years.

    + Slate: The trouble with Malcolm Gladwell.

2 comments
mrbomb13
mrbomb13

To provide anecdotal evidence, as a teacher, we in the Education profession have noticed a sharp decline in students who actually engage in "leisure reading time."  They believe that to be an activity for their parents, and are more interested in social media.  Furthermore, the number of students (as young as 6 years old) with tablets (i.e. iPads, Kindles) continues to rise.  That will further sap the appeal of books, as there's no touch-screen interaction, etc.. 

The bottom line is that children are moving away from traditional books, and more towards e-book formats.  If the old saying that, "children are the future" is true, well, then the future is already upon us.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Regarding, "Why People Still Read Books," TIME Magazine should have consulted more outside sources to support that questionable assertion.

While there are still book stores and book-buyers in existence, the number of book (not e-book) readers has fallen over time.  For a more detailed analysis, please view the following Pew findings:  http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/12/27/e-book-reading-jumps-print-book-reading-declines/

Furthermore, the general readership of other forms of print media (i.e. newspapers, magazines) continues to fall as well.  For a more detailed analysis, please view the following Pew Research findings:  http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/number-of-americans-who-read-print-newspapers-continues-decline/

Additionally, if we draw the trendline out further, what's noticeable is that book/print media readers will continue to decline over the coming decades.  By mid-century (perhaps sooner), it's well within the realm of possibility that that the number of e-book readers over-takes, and then vastly outnumbers the 'paper-copy' readers.