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Posts tagged ‘read’

Star-Crossed Lovers: Millennials and Books? Not So!

Some good news came out of the Pew Research Center the other day:


Millennials are reading books! And a good deal more often than their predecessors, Generation X. Additionally, they’re more likely to use libraries than the previous generation, for more than just movies and music. (Which, incidentally, is a terrific perk; where else will I be able to get the entire discography of Boz Scaggs for free?) This information flies in the face of the perception of Millennials having the attention spans of newborn puppies.

It’s a book of campaign promises.

Interestingly, Millennials do enjoy e-books, but not at the expense of physical books. This is a relief to those of us who wouldn’t know what to do without being able to use a dust jacket as a bookmark, or who would pine for the smell of old paperbacks. We see e-books as providing the benefit of saving room; they prevent us from having to find room to stow a book on a long trip, or even on a subway ride. Why bother when you can read one on your phone?

Additionally, there has been a push recently to replace hefty, unnecessarily expensive textbooks by placing the information on e-readers. (E-readers are any electronic devices that allow the user to read an actual book – it can be a Kindle or a Nook or an iPhone or a tablet, for example.) This makes sense, as the information in these textbooks is often replaced within a year or two by new editions. As long as it’s possible to reduce the exorbitant costs, then it will likely be a worthwhile endeavor.

But what could account for this trend toward auto-didacticism occurring in a generation that has been derided as not being able to read anything longer than a tweet (or a short and sweet blog post like this one)?

There are a few theories. One is that ‘nerd is the new cool.’ We’ve reached a place where knowledge is not just power, but in vogue. It may be a reaction to the previously accepted norm of the 1980s and 1990s, where being cool was actually anti-intellectual. ‘Too cool for school,’ was a popular eighties term. Another theory is that, since Millennials often don’t have the expendable income we’d like to, libraries are a free and easy way to entertain ourselves in our downtime.

Likely, it’s a combination of factors involved. Whatever the case, it is a welcomed trend.

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