Reading is an activity that has been around through the ages. Although it is almost impossible to trace the origin of reading, its trails can be followed to the cuneiform script era in 2600 BC. From being done as a performance in royal courts and monasteries to a pleasant, quiet time experience, reading has truly evolved over centuries. But how much has reading changed over the years?
In modern society, reading, like any other activity, has undergone tremendous changes. These changes range from the types of writing read to how reading is done and even how long it is done. In modern societies, it is easy to ponder the relevance of reading books.
Is reading still relevant today, or is it now considered a lost art? How many books should you read? You can find here everything you need to know about reading books in modern society.
History of Books and Reading
Reading has been an integral part of our development as a human society for centuries. Over the years, it has been used as a form of communication following the invention of writing. It was immediately followed as being adopted as part of a literary system before being used for recreational purposes or pleasure reading.
In a way, book reading plays an important role in the success of the evolution of societies across centuries. It plays an essential part in shaping a person. By reading books, people learn new ideologies and understand their society in ways that make navigating the world easier. Reading is a portal to attaining knowledge that many people do not possess.
While this is great, reading books as we know them today is not how it has always been in the past. The first book can be traced to the ancient Egyptians. These ‘books’ were papyrus scrolls that would never have been called a book by today’s standards. Nevertheless, these scrolls would hold down thoughts and could be read to decipher and make meaning of their content.
Books have long since come a long way. Besides papyrus scrolls, many historians agree that the first real book was the Codex of the Romans in the first century AD. The mass production of books followed this by printing presses. Printing presses enabled the increased and more efficient printing of books, making books (and reading) now easily available to all.
Now, in modern societies, books not only appear on pages but can also be easily found in digital media. In several years, we have evolved from reading from clay tablets to papyrus scrolls, paper scrolls, paper pages, and now, digital reading.
Reading as a Modern Day Art
Living in a digitised society means the average human habit of reading books has suffered a change from what it would have been 50 or 100 years ago.
Technology such as ebooks and the internet means you are less likely to catch someone reading a paperback and more likely to see them reading ebooks. However, the advent of technology does not equate with the complete erasure of reading as a habit in modern society. It simply means digital technology brought with it such a tumultuous change that reading now transcends the traditional media experience.
Gone are the days of dusty libraries and bookshelves filled with dog-eared books. Now, books are easily accessible at the tap of a button on numerous technological devices. But does that mean people pay less attention to physical books?
Contrary to popular opinion, reading in itself is not a lost art. While the growth of fascinating technological innovations might mean that people have broader interests than they might have had years ago, reading is still a habit that many stay true to. The only thing that has changed in reading habits is what we read and how we read.
One habit that has significantly changed in reading books as an activity is the presence of physical books. The advent of technology brought ebooks as a solution to easily and quickly assess books in modern society. While many people prefer to read physical books, a more significant percentage now dedicate their time to reading e-books such as kindle. Also, everyone who likes reading can find information on the best way to play pokies and other casino games.
What Else Has Changed?
The advent of technology also means people spend their time reading shorter content like online articles than paper books. This might be a result of the rapidly declining human concentration span or a bid to save time.
The average human’s attention span is about 8.25 seconds. This value has decreased by almost 25% since 2000, coming from 12 seconds. Combine this with the fast-paced hustle and bustle of life in modern societies, and it is easy to see why the average person now prefers short content.
Today, people will prefer to read short content such as articles instead of books because they can finish and digest this content faster. This is not entirely a disadvantage as people now find themselves reading more frequently.
Importance of Reading in Today’s Society
Whether online reading or print reading, reading books still plays a significant role in human development as a modern society. It improves the average person’s reading ability, comprehensive skills, and critical thinking.
Reading books of varying disciplines is a great way to improve comprehension skills and gain knowledge of various disciplines. some benefits of reading books in modern society includes:
- It improves vocabulary growth. Reading books exposes readers to new words, helping them to build their vocabulary strength and communicate effectively with other people.
- It sharpens prior knowledge, making readers more informed on the topics they choose to explore.
- Deep reading sharpens concentration, helping the brain to focus on tasks better.
- It improves memory.
- It improves mental health.
- it improves the imagination, a benefit that is more common among long-term fiction readers.
- Research shows that people that read books survived or lived longer than non-readers. This is because of the health benefits of reading such as reducing stress and being more knowledgeable about having good health.
- It improves empathy and makes it easier to understand other people.
- It reduces cognitive decline associated with age.
Digital or Paper Books: Which Is Better?
Digital books are reshaping the average person’s reading habit in modern society. For many people, true reading experiences come from flipping through a paperback. However, even a larger percentage of people in a modern society will argue that e-books offer a more pleasant experience and increased benefits than paper prints.
Traditional reading in the form of a paperback is how many people are trained to read from childhood. However, as ebooks steadily become popular, people have made the switch to digital books. The embrace of modern digital book solutions begs many questions, one of which is ‘are digital books now better than paper prints?’
Although the benefits of reading cannot be ignored, the reading medium a reader chooses ultimately affects their reading experience. Knowing which choice to make between digital books and paperbacks depends on personal preference. They both offer different features that make them unique and shape the user’s experience.
Books do not require electricity to function. To read a book, all you need to do is select your preferred book and read it in an environment with enough light. eBooks, on the other hand, are only available on digital devices. These devices need to be charged and often require an internet connection to access the digital books. However, deBooks also offer the advantages of keeping track of reading progress.
EBooks usually record the last seen page after a user exits the platform, ensuring that they enjoy a seamless experience when they choose to continue reading. Needless to say, this is also possible with paperbacks by using a bookmark or dogearing the page.
Reading comprehension and concentration are usually better on a paperback than with eBooks. Reading on a digital device increases a reader’s risk of being easily distracted by incoming notifications, and pop-up advertisements. These distractions are absent in paperbacks, making printed books a better option if you are looking to enjoy an uninterrupted reading activity.
Many eBooks offer unique features that enable readers to comment on, highlight, or search for the meaning of a word or phrase they encounter while reading. This improves the learning process, ensuring that readers maximize their reading and learning experience.
A major complaint when reading eBooks is the problem of straining the eyes. Looking at a screen for too long is a leading cause of eye strain. Conversely, print books do not contribute to physical limitations such as poor eyesight.
How Many Books Should You Read?
Regular reading is a great way to hone your analytical and cognitive abilities. It stimulates mental growth, sharpens communication skills, broadens knowledge, and improves imagination. Essentially reading frequently works out the brain muscles in the same way that going to the gym frequently does to the body.
To fully enjoy the benefits of reading, it is important to read frequently. But how frequently should a person read books?
People have reading habits that are unique to their personalities. Some people make it a pout to read parts of a book every day while some remember to do it every other day. This makes it difficult to ascertain how many books the average person should read.
Research claims the average person should read 50 books every year. This is approximately one good book every week. This number is up for argument depending once again on personal preference and abilities. However, reading 50 books every year is an achievable feat as it does not require lots of time, commitment, or the ability to read fast. By engaging in daily reading for 30 minutes or 1 hour every day, people can read up to 50 books every year.
Reading Books Is Still a Huge Part of Society
In modern society, it is easy to wonder if people still read books. Although technology has severely changed the art and practice of reading as we know it, people undoubtedly still read a lot of books today.
Modern societies now supplement traditional print media with digital eBooks. While this digitized reading might be very different from reading centuries ago, it ensures that reading remains a part of our daily lives.