Reading is alive! Hallelujah! Makinson at #think2013
When you have grown up with the grown-ups around you moaning about how the habit of reading is dying, it’s more than heartening to hear John Makinson, chairman of Penguin Random House assure us that people are still reading across the world. Yes, the shift from the physical book to digital is slowly happening and that may, as John pointed out, mean that publishers have to change their tactics. But it’s a slow shift and the physical book is still here for a while. The world as we know it is not really going to change overnight! Phew!
But there were two bits of information from John’s comments at Think2013 that really put the smile on my face. One was the acknowledged comeback of the indie bookstore in many parts of the world. Their reinvention as culture hubs where loyal buyers can browse, take recommendations for what they can read next, interact with other book lovers, feel good. This feeds into a long time dream of mine to own a space like this. A zone of comfort where people can read, talk, debate, especially young people though I know that might be complicated!
The other tidbit was about Penguin readership in India. Apparently, Indians like reading books that unravel complicated situations. They like serious non fiction and that’s the category that drives sales in this country. I would not have imagined that, judging from the books I see people read, on the Delhi Metro for instance! Very heartening indeed.
All in all, the session inspires me to read more, and then some. To explore the world of digital information even as I visit my favourite bookstore occasionally to chat about the latest releases and pick up a real book that I can feel and smell and curl up with!