Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Power of Reading

Hop on Board!
Being involved with social media, we understand the power of simply hitting a keyboard or sliding a finger across a screen to get what a person wants, be that a book, an appliance, some food, whatever. But this begs the question, what is best?

Not in the aspect of receiving what a person is looking for - that is not the question. The true question is when it comes to reading what is better - e-books or physical books?

For the fiscally prudent person, then the answer is really simple - an e-book edition of a novel is much cheaper than a hard copy (unless a person takes the liberty of visiting a public library, shopping on-line for used books, or borrowing one from a pal). But there is something about the physical act of holding a book in one's hands and turning each page one at a time that is truly special.

Brain research actually suggests that the physical act of turning a page allows the brain to wander a moment, and then it must refocus on the following page which causes synapses to start clicking between both halves of the brain. Whereas, with an e-book, it is one continuous page just rolling by and the brain does not have to stop and refocus, thus not allowing such muscle building synapses from occurring. The brain is must have exercise to stay in tip-top shape.
That's deep.

According to an international attorney and self-professed voracious reader, Rohit Shrivastava (2017) when asked if he would rather have an e-book or a physical book - " . . . there is one aspect where e-books cannot compare with a physical book. Physical books give you a sense of ownership and attachment. You make a connection with that book. This feeling is absent in the case of an e-book."

The good news, for those of us writers who still publish hard copies of books, is that the current trend shows that more and more people are turning off their Kindles and holding physical books in their hands.

An interesting article written by Colin Ainsworth of (1/17/19) gave a rather clear and concise break down of what is going on with book reading. Physical books are back and growing stronger by the year.

It seems, according to the online newspaper, Quartz, that between the years of 2009 and 2015 independent bookstores have not only thrived, but grown in numbers - by as much as 35%. In the United Kingdom, those numbers are even stronger and since the advent of Amazon, independent bookstores have actually increased.

Publishers Weekly, the American standard for weekly news about all that is writing and reading, reported that print sales rose by almost 2% in 2017. When the results for 2018 are in, we at J and L suspect they will be even better.

That is good news for us writing and reading types. No more is the doom and gloom that people are too busy playing on their phones and not reading. Looks as though the trend is going the opposite direction.

Another online magazine, Vox, is suggesting that people are now going to book stores more than ever, for the experience of touching, seeing, and investigating books they may be interested in reading. Though social media still rears its head with people posing for selfies in the book aisles, at least it's a start.

Social media does allow smaller booksellers to tweet, Instagram, Facebook, and employ other avenues to connect with their customers and their potential new readers. It allows the book stores to reach out through the cosmos and slowly bring down to earth people who now feel the need to hold a book in their hands.

One book seller stated that she was finding more and more social media addicted souls were coming to her store to purchase books because they actually craved the physical contact of the book. The purchasers were a bit tired of everything being digitized and wanted to feel, look and smell a real book.

We like that and during a recent book signing at Barnes and Noble, felt that with the many people who stopped by to chit-chat or have John autograph his latest novel, Iquitos - The Past Will Kill - still enjoyed wandering the aisles. With the crowds going through the large store it was reassuring to think that bookstores are on their way up, and in fact the foot traffic that particular day seemed to reaffirm that belief.

John will be signing more copies of his books this coming Sunday, the 27th, at the Victorville Barnes and Noble. The book store ran out of some of his titles at the last signing and re-ordered. If anyone is nearby - please stop in and say hello to the author - no purchase necessary.

For a quick two and a half minute video in reference to the book signing please check out this link.

Special thanks to Justin Barr who created the above video.

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