Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why read books?

So why is InfiBeam focused on books? Because we believe books are an important part of every person's culture and development.

Let us explain.

The well-respected Tehelka magazine conducted a survey about reading across India in the 30 Jan 2010 issue, and there were some really interesting statistics.

Take the reading habits of an average Indian:

It is interesting to note that books are not considered an integral part, but people are open to reading as soon as they are convinced about the value of the book (regardless whether the value is self-development or entertainment, etc.)

The survey goes on to talk about many interesting aspects, such as the motivations for Indians to read books, especially in English, favorite genres as well as about that one single author who has revived the interest in reading in India (can you guess?). This issue is a must-buy if you're a book lover, because you'll get to understand the motivations of other book readers around you. Oh, and you'll definitely never guess the second most favorite author in India (at least as per the surveyed population).

It is sad that books are not being read as much in India, because we truly believe in the importance of books:

The lack of reading is becoming such a pandemic that even the CEO of Google is worried! :
The boss of US Internet giant Google on Friday expressed concern that youngsters growing up in the mobile instant information age will develop a "deep reading" problem.

"The one that I do worry about is the question of 'deep reading'," said Eric Schmidt, the 54-year-old chief executive and chairman of the internet giant, referring to the term used to explain reading for greater comprehension.

"As the world looks to these instantaneous devices... you spend less time reading all forms of literature, books, magazines and so forth," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"That probably has an effect on cognition, probably has an effect on reading."
If you're still not convinced, read about why Seth Godin writes books in spite of writing one of the most popular blogs around:
Out of context, a 140 character tweet cannot change someone's life. A blog post might (I can think of a few that changed the way I think about business and even life). A movie can, but most big movies are inane entertainments designed to make a lot of money, not change people. But books?
The reason I wrote Linchpin: If you want to change people, you must create enough leverage to encourage the change to happen.
Books change lives every day. A book takes more than a few minutes to read. A book envelopes us, it is relentless in its voice and in its linearity. You start at the beginning and you either ride with the author to the end or you bail. And unlike just about any form of electronic media [1], you get to read the book at your own pace, absorbing it as you go.
Closer to home, Tehelka quotes Naseeruddin Shah and Shahana Goswami:

We hope that we have convinced you about the value of books even though the average readership in India is low.

However, the bright side in the survey was the results of this question:

The survey results were:

These are amazing numbers, and glad to know that perhaps, it is the medium of reading that is changing, if not the actual time spent on reading.

Regarding the second part, we are happy to fill in the void by creating Pi, India's first ebook reader.

It looks like the world is going digital and InfiBeam is taking a lead and playing a part in making it happen.

[1] We believe that having a dedicated ebook reader solves the problem of narrow attention span :)