Thursday, January 26, 2023

Dear O'Abby: Does anyone read anymore?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm writing my first novel, but it occurs to me, what's the point when people just don't seem to read anymore?  Or am I mistaken?  I just know none of my friends read books, and I rarely see anyone around me reading books.  I asked a few people in my classes too, and they all said they don't read books.

So is there any point in writing a book if no one reads them?



Dear Readerless,

Firstly, there is always a point to writing a book.  If you have a book in you that's burning to come out, you need to write it, if only for you.  While it's important to write with a reader in mind, it's fine if that reader is you.

Secondly, people do still read.  You may not see many commuters on the bus with a paperback in their hands anymore, but that doesn't mean they're not reading.  That guy with the headphones over his beanie?  He could be listening to an audiobook.  That lady staring intently at her phone?  Reading an e-book.  And that boy hanging from the strap with his phone in one hand?  He's checking out the latest in the serial sci-fi story he's following.

Like everything else in the world, reading is changing.  You no longer have to sit down for a few hours to consume a book.  With audio, you can read a book while you drive to work, or clean the house.  Serialized fiction is also growing in population across a variety of apps and is perfect for people who don't have a whole lot of time to read because the story is delivered to them in bite-sized chunks.

But even paper books are still popular.  Lockdowns during the pandemic sent a whole bunch of people to bookshelves they'd probably never looked at before and people who would normally claim they never read books actually did.  And many of them enjoyed it so much they have continued to read.  Book sales are up, despite the increased cost of living.

So I think you're safe in writing your book.  There are always going to be readers out there.  You may just need to look a little more closely to see them.

X O'Abby

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