"So many books, so little time" Frank Zappa
With the popularity of television, movies, the Internet, and digital devices in general, the simple pleasure of reading a book seems almost quaint by comparison. Though print is quite dead yet, heavy book users are almost an endangered species in this technological society of ours. According to one recent study from Germany, only three percent of the population identified themselves as heavy book users (reading more than eighteen books a year). And that's pretty typical for most industrialized countries these days, especially with the cost of printed books remaining stable while digital media continues to drop in price.
Almost all of the media psychology studies looking at the effects of heavy media use on consumers have focused on electronic media. This includes studies of heavy television use, Internet gaming, video watching and so forth. But what about the impact that heavy book use has on readers? I'm not talking about research into reading ability or how well people understand text, but on the kind of impact that heavy book reading can have on how we interact with other people.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.