So you can read my books

Thursday, September 27, 2012


{Indigo, daughter of Nótt (Night personified), courtesy of Leonora Roy}
(Look for Indigo in THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT)
Are we the last?

Have writers become an endangered species?

I was reading this morning that the point-and-shoot camera you now own is probably the last you will ever buy.

The smart phone has replaced it. Sure, there are advantages to the point-and-shoot :

including features like image stabilization and larger lenses and sensors.

That does not matter to consumers like Emily Peterson, a 28-year-old graphic designer who lives in Brooklyn and who bought an iPhone 4 in July. “One day I just thought,

‘Wow, I never have my camera with me, when I used to carry it around all the time,’ ” she said. “It’s just one less thing for me to remember, one less thing to carry.”

Newspapers are scrambling to survive. Who reads them anymore? USA TODAY with its many pictures and its snippets of articles is the most successful one out there.

The music store. Every mall used to have one. Now, they are disappearing.

Why bother buying whole CD's when you can download the individual singles you enjoy from Amazon?

Bookstores are facing extinction as well. The ebook is slowly taking over. But worse, why pay full price for a hardback when you can order for much less from Amazon with free shipping?

And who reads for pleasure anymore?

We do, of course. But we are the dinosaurs, watching these strange critters called mammals scurrying around our feet.

Donna Hole wrote me that only one of her four children reads for pleasure. The others never did. Never.

I was a high school teacher for a time, and even then the school library was for assignments only. Very few students ever checked out a book for a fun read.

The kids graduating today seldom, if ever, read for pleasure. They go to movies. They play video games. The guys watch the sports of their choice.

We have become a visual society.

And the children of this generation will have even less desire to read. We learn what we see.

No wonder publishers are downsizing.

Why do you think Nathan Bransford is no longer an agent?

Are we pounding on the door to a castle that is crumbling behind the walls holding us back? Will reading for fun be here in twenty years?

Will libraries become quaint memories like the slide rule? Will books become ghosts like dusty 8-tracks?

Are we hurrying to buy a ticket on the Titanic?

What do you guys out there think? Have we become voices in the wilderness? Have we become like the tigers now in the wild : the last generation of our kind?

Don't miss D.G. Hudson's review of THE RIVAL!


  1. Our daughters are great readers, mostly with printed books. We always read to them and with them, when they were younger.

    Who reads anymore? Writers and those who want to be informed. The presentation of the information may change, but visual material is usually based on written material (script, book).

    Tough question, Roland.

  2. Since the beginning of time, cultures have been built around stories. I realize our stories have been expanded to include video games, TV, movies...but I refuse to believe that books will ever be obsolete.

    I look around a site like Goodreads or at all the book review blogs and the HUGE fan sites for things like The Mortal Instruments, Hunger Games, Twilight etc...

    Those are all YA books. Read by enough kids/teenagers that the word spread, adults started reading them, the books got optioned for movies etc..

    I mean, HARRY POTTER. There's a whole theme park built around those books. And it wasn't the movie lovers that pushed those stories to become the huge success they are. It was the book lovers. The book lovers are the reason Harry Potter ever became a movie, a theme-park, a video game etc...

    I look at an example like that and I can't help but think that books will always have a place in the world.

  3. P.S. It's late and my thoughts aren't at their most coherent. I meant to mention that I specifically chose YA books as examples because the YA book market is booming. There's proof right there that plenty of young people still read.

  4. I agree with the above. The way we read may change but as long as there are words, it is human nature to read them :)

  5. life has changed so much... if they could just stick the book into our heads and we have total recall of it from cover to cover, to save time. i would totally do that, the world would be filled with smarter people... the possibilities are endless.

  6. D.G.:
    Thanks again for the review of THE RIVAL on your blog.

    Everyone! Check it out.

    My mother read to me, too. But how many young parents have time or the inclination to read to their children today? I have noticed girls still read. Boys do not as a rule. Sad.

    We writers read as do our families. But I notice as I said to D.G, that girls read -- hence all the predominance of female leads in novels.

    Where I work NONE of the men read while a third of the women do. The reader population is shrinking which does not bode well for the future of publishing.

    HARRY POTTER did pump new life into the concept of reading. But Ms. Rowling's latest adult effort has met with lackluster critical reviews.

    Perceptive comments you have. Roland

    Chuckle. I even read the side of the cereal box as I eat breakfast! You are right. Put it out there and many of us will read it. But how to put it in front of the reading audience, right?

    The act of reading for me is most of the fun. To live the adventure, moment by moment. But for textbooks, I would leap at your idea!!

  7. "The kids graduating today seldom, if ever, read for pleasure."

    I think there is some truth to this, but it's a generalization that doesn't fit a lot of young adults. The YA genre has exploded and much of it is from eager teen readers, as well as new adults, as an example. Of course, there is so much going on with iPads and handhelds and X-boxes and videogames, but I don't think books and publishing are dying.

  8. From all this time blogging, I've come to realise there are many many many many many writers out there who are readers too! So I'd like to think so long as there are those who take joy in creating something wonderful out of the written word in whatever form it takes - people will read for pleasure.

    Take care

  9. I really don't think we are. If parents instill a love of reading into their children then it won't die. But they must do it! Storytelling is at the heart of being human and hopefully it always will be.

  10. Lydia:
    Like most booms, statistics are beginning to show a slowing in the YA explosion. Girls are the majority of YA readers. I am fighting that trend with Victor Standish's adventures. We are rapidly becoming a visual society. I hope you are right about the publishing industry.

    If only writers read, publishing will be in trouble. Like you, I think that there will always be some who will read for pleasure.

    I believe you are right: it is up to the parents to teach the joy of reading to their children. Still, so many of people I work with are visually minded, not teaching their children the thrill of living an adventure in their minds.

    The oral tradition of the Lakota is dying slowly. The art of the story teller died with the demise of radio. Prose is slowly being replaced with visual, short-term focus cyber entertainment.

    But a culture loses its identity if it loses its story-tellers. Thanks for visiting, Roland