Disappearing trend of reading among kids


Seeking the warmth of the sun on a winter day, lying on lofty carpet of greens, eyes fixed on sentences that gradually turns into a story. A story which gets even more interesting every time the pages are flipped and thoughts wandering into in the content of the novel will perhaps be something to reminisce about in a few years time.

Technology may have helped develop mankind but it also seems to be robbing away the simple charms of life that we grew up with – for instance, book reading and the essence of it.

Sharing of books and comics amongst friends, discussing about the new edition of Mills and Boons, or the latest edition of Tin Tin or the black and white version of Commando has eroded with time.

The reading habit amongst the youngsters in the city has seen a decline in recent time due to various factors for which the internet is held responsible.

The introduction of the recent software enabling one to purchase books and read them online has affected the publishers and distributors markets and the only types of books whose demand is on the rise are the textbooks published for schools and colleges.

This reading habit which was very popular among the young people, 10 years has undergone tremendous changes with the arrival of the IT revolution. This revolution, no doubt has benefitted men in various ways but at the same time, the disadvantage that this revolution brought about is the tendency to bring down the reading habit among the young people.

By reading, one doesn't simply mean reading a newspaper or a blog, but reading refers to the excitement and the eagerness one experiences when they get to buy a new book and read it for hours till one's content. It is more like an art, which was once upon a time a popular trend in the state's capital.

According to the representative of Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, Sandeep Sharma, the introduction of the kindle online edition and the e-books has affected the market to a large extent and the approach taken by the web-oriented houses to lure customers by giving discounts has turned the market upside down.

"The young people at present are either glued to the television or the computer, they hardly have time to sit and read," Sharma rued adding that if this trend continues "I fear that 10 years from now, the habit amongst the youngers will disappear and the only books that will be available will be the text books."

He also said that this business which was once upon a time very profitable has now become more of a social work, surviving on the edge.

Meanwhile, talking to the students on the issue, majority of them seems to agree that the habit is gradually fading and if not encouraged, it could be just a habit talked about and followed by the elderly people. "Young people are hooked to the television, the video games and social networking sites and take me for instance, if I want some information on any issue, it is not a click away, I can simply get it within a few second," a student of St Edmund's School, Donny Joe Kharmawlong said.

"However, I do feel that the satisfaction of actually reading a book is very pleasant and different. One can't simply sit infront of the screen for hours to read, be it, a short story or a novel, but with a book, one can sit for hours and relax without having to strain one's eyes," the young student expressed his views.

Echoing similar views, a young student Raghav Jhunjhunwala while agreeing to the fact that the reading habit has decline over the years, felt that one of the solution to help retain this habit amongst the youth is to convert some of the novels into movies as a mean to attract the youngsters to visit the book store. "Speaking from experience, I myself would like to read a book which I already had a picture of how the characters look like. That way, when I read the book, I feel the story-line becomes more clearer and the details becomes more lucid", Raghav said.

Meanwhile, a representative of Shillong's very own Ri Khasi Book Agency while applauding the increase of a number of Khasi authors in the state, however said that majority of the books sold off are mainly schools and college textbooks, reference books.