Ever since the invention of books, reading has been a popular past time with those able to read. As literacy levels increased, reading soon became something that the majority of the population enjoyed, and because literacy and reading are integral to each other, the more people read books, the better they could read, and the better educated they became. But more recently, technology means that less and less people are choosing to read to fill their time. One of the main things that people now do in their free time when they ordinarily would have been reading is to watch television, and there are a number of reasons why this is happening.
First of all, watching television is easier than reading. It doesn’t require us to use our brains as much or concentrate as hard, so watching TV can be more appealing after a long day of work. Furthermore, some people are not very well educated and do not want to be, and would consider reading to be something done by intellectuals only. But this perpetuates the problem and becomes a cycle, whereby people don’t read because they can’t read well, and never will read better because they won’t read.
The increase in choice of TV programmes also means that more and more people are choosing to watch TV. When there were only a handful of channels available, if there was nothing on that someone wanted to watch, they would pick up a book. But now, with the great choice of channels and the ability to record and watch on demand too, we can always find something on that we are interested in watching, so we are less likely to pick up a book because we are bored with the television.
The cost of books is also having an impact, because with television you don’t have to pay for as much as you want. There are subscription costs and license fees, but once you’ve paid those, you can watch as little or as much TV as you want, with the only additional cost being electricity. With books, however, the more you read, the more you have to spend. And while it’s true that you can pick them up second hand, sometimes it’s hard to find what you want, and some people don’t like to buy things second hand, so the price of books compared to television could certainly be a factor.
Overall, there can be no doubt that the availability, choice and price of television are meaning that less people are choosing to read books. Plus, because reading improves with practice and technology is moving forward all the time, it is a situation that is only going to get worse.