Written Words in Decline

A photo of a full bookshelf.

Erik Dubbs, News Editior

Are Books Becoming Obsolete?


“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Anonymous

How many times have you heard that phrase before? In all different segments of education, books have been universally considered the source of that education. 

As a high school student who enjoys reading, I believe that books are very important; not just for education, but for a source of perspective. A great majority of my peers often state that they ‘don’t read’. I suspect that with time, this will become a statement that describes the majority of American society. According to ‘cnbc.com’, 24% of American adults have not read a book in the past year, and according to ‘goodreadingmagazine.com’, 80% of US families haven’t purchased a book in the past year. The same website details that 774 million people around the world cannot even read. Why are people so eager to profess, “I don’t read because (It’s boring, I don’t have time, I’m doing just fine without it, etc…)” when almost 1 billion people in the globe don’t have the chance to read? 

‘Dreammaker.co.uk’ states that when you stop reading, your brain loses its sharpness and that reading plays a major part in maintaining stimulating cognitive activity. The website also details that reading is an advanced process that decodes symbols in order to derive meaning and comprehension. 

When there are so many benefits to reading a book, why is it still continuously on the decline? I think it’s reasonable to analyze the American education system. I believe that reading reminds people of the distressing time they’ve spent studying for standardized tests and for fear of being punished for not reading. The punishment part does seem a little far-fetched, but if you think about it… does it really? I think that people tend to associate many activities with certain emotions. To create an example of this, let’s take sugar into account. Many people love sugary foods because getting candy and other sweets in schools as an award, and for Halloween for celebration, teaches the subconscious mind that eating cookies, candy, cake, etc… is a sentiment to joy with every bite. So to flip the coin, in fear of getting a bad grade which is so commonly associated with utter failure, suggests punishment, shame, and negativity. So when you splice together books and shame? Why would you want to put your subconscious brain through that same feeling again? Why would shame be a popular thing? That would make no sense.

To continue with the ‘unpopular’ streak, There’s the factor in not only schools, but social hierarchy, that identity matters. There’s a -massive- association that reading is for geeks, nerds, and unpopular people that love school, etc… I believe it’s reasonable that just how people take personal experiences to their future, people will also take that reading misconception with them as well, which may also prevent people from having any initiative to read. But guess what… as an avid reader, I’m not the biggest fan of school myself, and to be honest, I really don’t like the way education in America functions, which I believe is evidence enough to break that “teacher’s pet” stigma around reading. 

So how can society overcome the fast decline in reading? Well I believe people need to find what interests them and seek books to satisfy the craving for intense interests. You may be really into romance, or drama, or psychology,  and while a quick google search can give you a shallow overview of your interests, I can guarantee you that books will go more into depth to help you broaden your horizons.