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Is Ruth Rendell right?

by: Romany Howes (9 January 2014)

According to best-selling novelist, Ruth Rendell, reading has become a specialist activity enjoyed by just a minority, a fact that she admits "strikes terror" into her heart. Not only have physical book sales declined, sales of e-readers have levelled out after a massive upsurge when they were first introduced. So is Ms Rendell right? Personally, I donít think so.

E-readers are not like mobile phones: once you have one, you donít need to upgrade to a better model. Could it be that those who want an e-book reader already have one? It also appears that tablets are taking over from the dedicated e-reading device: both Amazon and Barnes & Noble now seem to be almost exclusively focused on their tablet products, respectively the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.

One more thought. Nowadays there are infinitely more platforms which enable us to assimilate information: we have fanfiction, blogs, twitter . . . the words themselves werenít even around a few years ago! Effectively we read all the time, albeit in shorter snippets. But we are still reading.

People will continue to read books. It really doesnít matter whether they are using the latest technology or physically buying one from a shop. The format doesnít matter. E-books are here to stay, they are not a one-hit wonder. But paper books have their own niche also. There is still a generation of people who much prefer to browse the bookshelves, pick up a good-looking book and turn the pages with a licked finger. Iím one of them.

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Ref: 46 I haven't yet read Ruth Rendell's piece, but personally I enjoy all forms of reading, whether physical books or on my Kindle, which is very handy for travelling or when out. I think too that people who like reading still read and nothing will ever deter them!
Marilyn - 11:02 10-01-2014
Ref: 45 I don't see why she thinks that reading on a device is not reading. She's wrong.
Garry - 09:33 10-01-2014

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