Are Books Unnecessary?

Picture by Gitanjali Raman/ The Rubicon

By Pranesh Kumar, Staff Writer

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When writing first started to gain popularity across the world, the art of storytelling and memorizing entire works of literature became obsolete. After the creation and spread of the printing press, the art of calligraphy and handwriting books also became obsolete. Now, with the spread of technology and the ability to access information across the globe, just by using the “Google” app, the activity of reading books is on the decline and may suffer the same fate.

Whether we like it or not, the popularity of reading is on the decline across America. In 1982, 54.3% of adults claimed to have read a piece of literature in the last year. By the year 2015, this number shifted to 43.1%. According to an Associated Press Ipsos Poll, one in four adults had not read a single book in the previous year. There are many reasons for the decline in the amount of people reading books, but the main reasons are the spread of alternate forms of entertainment. There was once a time when books were considered a primary form of entertainment, but this is quickly being replaced by television, video games, and movies. Book sales across the country are dropping every year, yet the potential for books and their impact on readers is still crucial. Books are far from “unnecessary” in today’s academic and social environment.

One of the main reasons why books are still necessary is because they provide a unique literary experience that is unmatched by any virtual experience on television. A number of recent studies show that reading fiction boosts the quality of the readers’ empathy. Good works of literature give readers an insight into the minds of the author and nurture appreciation towards others. 

Books can also satisfy the hunger of knowledge that many people have by providing unique experiences to a variety of different topics. The most direct example of this is in nonfiction books, which immerse the reader in a topic much more thoroughly than many television programs or Youtube videos. Even fiction novels, depending on the interests of the reader, can be useful as a source of entertainment and as a way of educating the reader on important morals or global events. 

It is no doubt that books and novels are necessary in our society today. They still serve a valuable role in our society and must not suffer the same fate as many other practices in the past. In order to preserve reading in the age of digital technology, teachers and students should still continue utilizing novels, but should shift to media such as e-books and audio books. It is important that we must continue adapting to make sure that books still hold value for years to come.

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