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DISCUSS: Are your books left on the shelf, never to be picked up again?

Abbie Dodson
Abbie Dodson

As a child, I was obsessed with reading. I would engulf myself in stories about horses, and lions, and dystopian societies, and I would love every moment of it.

My family are all pretty avid readers, and as I got older, I could borrow their rom-com novels and enjoyed the completely predictable plots – boy meets girl, indeed. 
Whilst my family still read, I almost never see them toting a book any more.

The bookshelves are still adorned with old classics – a library time capsule, if you will. But, it’s not that my family have stopped reading – they have simply traded their physical copies with digital ones.

So, I ask, have books been completely replaced by Netflix, and iPads, or have they simply made the digital transfer?

After all, it’s nearly impossible on the train to determine what someone is doing on their phones – they could be reading a literary masterpiece, or engrossing themselves in their news feed.

I personally love holding a new book, with crisp, white, unread pages just waiting to be turned, and I know my relatives had similar preferences, leading to reservations, about e-books. However, after trying one of the devices, every avid reader in the family seems to own a Kindle.

These differences are fine, as they mean that less paper is being used, which obviously benefits the environment, but book sales and production is still a profitable market.

As a creative writing student, I am very anxious for the future of books in general, electronic or not. Since social media and electronic devices are so popular and readily available, I find it difficult to believe that many people still read, when there are so many other, cheaper pastimes. Whilst I read on a regular basis, many children won’t be brought up with reading as a priority, quietened instead by Mum’s iPhone, or the family tablet.

I believe that reading is an important part of development for younger children – I can still vividly remember stories of Elma the Elephant, and the Rainbow Fish from my primary education, and hope that reading is still a compulsory part of the curriculum.

If children are passionate about reading, not only will their own vocabulary grow, but so will the industry, keeping the huge tradition of reading going over more generations.

If children are not influenced to read, and are allowed to choose tablets, games, and mobiles over books, then surely, books will become extinct.

When I’m older, I would hate to remember books nostalgically, the way some remember the vinyl player, or recording Top of The Pops on a Sunday on a cassette player, to later replay the recordings in awful quality, as my mum so fondly recalls.

It would be such a shame to see books come to an undignified end, when they have had so much influence in our culture for thousands of years.

So, do you prefer your Kindle to a light paperback, or do you find the idea of reading a long novel draining, to say the least?