Ah, finally some news to put us millennials in a positive light.
A new Pew study found that young adults are more likely than their elders to have read a book in the past 12 months.
Overall 88 percent of Americans under the age of 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79 percent of those age 30 and older, according to the study.
When I was younger, my parents would yell at me to get off the computer and “go read a book, or something.” I used to read a lot and I still read quite a bit, but as I’ve gotten older, I seem to be spending more time on the web than with a book.
That said, I don’t think the Internet is harming the way millenials read — it’s enhancing it.
I mean, technically you read Facebook, which you can argue is the simplest form of online reading, but it still counts. If we’re really going to talk about how the Internet has changed reading, though, we need to talk about YouTube and Twitter.
The most prominent example of an author with a huge online presence is John Green. Yes, he’s been around for a while, but he didn’t really start to become well-known until “The Fault in Our Stars,” which is now starting to feel like one of the most over-talked-about young adult books ever.
Arguably, if he didn’t have such a huge online presence with his various YouTube channels, his book wouldn’t have gained the audience (or the movie) that it has. Not only that, he is also very prominent on Twitter and interacts often with his audience, which is primarily made up of young adults. Through these virtual interactions, it feels like Green is creating a personal relationship with everyone, and suddenly his books start to feel more realistic and personal, too.
Let’s not forget that the “booktube” community has been around for a while, too. It’s so easy for someone to get online and vlog about a book they really liked for three minutes. If they have a large number of subscribers, such as Sanne Vliegenthart from “booksandquills,” at least a handful of fans will pick up her recommended novels.
It also seems like publishing companies are creating the idea that those with a strong online presence, like Alfie Deyes and Grace Helbig, would make good authors as well because of their already established, young and impressionable audience. Whether or not that assumption will prove true, only time and The New York Times Bestseller list will tell.
In other words, the Web is enhancing reading by creating conversation. People can make virtual book clubs, share book reviews and talk about their favorite characters with a click of a button. And for me, at least, talking about a good book is the best part.
It’s important to note that Pew found that even though millennials are reading a lot, many of them think that their libraries are not that important. Only 19 percent of people under 30 said that a local library’s closing would have a big impact on them, compared with 32 percent of elders.
If you were to ask me if I think libraries are important, I would say yes without any hesitation. But I’m a stickler for the old-fashioned, apparently. With the advent of e-books and tablets and iPads, it’s hard to say what will happen to these book havens in the future.
I guess in that sense, books are a bit like journalism. Not because they’re black and white and read all over, but because of the way that they’re consumed and the way that we talk about them. Reading isn’t dying. It’s just changing.