Thursday, May 03, 2007
Who reads books anymore?
It's not easy getting people to care about books.

Thursday, a small contingent gathered in front of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's building in downtown Atlanta, a couple blocks from CNN Center, to host a "read-in." The paper has decided to eliminate its book editor position and the activists want to show that books -- and readers -- matter. (The episode has received national coverage.)

So a handful of people quietly read books in front of AJC headquarters while others, standing in front of a poster saying "Save the Book Review" and a display of titles (Walker Percy's "Love in the Ruins," "Romeo and Juliet," Langston Hughes) praised AJC Book Editor Teresa Weaver and talked about why the paper was making a bad decision.

"The problem is, they're not making enough money, and this is easy to give up," said Vivian Lawand, a veteran Atlanta bookseller.

The paper says it will continue to have book coverage. "We will continue to use freelancers, established news services and our staff to provide stories about books of interest to our readers and the local literary community," spokeswoman Mary Dugenske told The New York Times.

The AJC isn't alone in its rethinking. The Times recently ran a piece about newspapers cutting back on book coverage. There's not enough advertising money, the thinking goes, and readers are gravitating online anyway and getting their book information from blogs and Amazon reviews. (I won't even go into all the questions surrounding the publishing business.)

But I'm not so sure cutting newspaper book coverage is the way to go.

I'll admit I'm biased -- in many ways. I don't know Weaver personally, but we have several friends in common; I subscribe to two newspapers (and several magazines); I'm in two book groups, one online and the other face-to-face; I like to see good writers succeed; and, of course, I oversee the entertainment and media page for a large news organization and I like to keep up with the field.

But at bottom, it's for a selfish reason: I read books. Lots of books. It's not just for my job. I love reading in general, and I know when I die I'll still have shelves -- cases -- of books I never got to. ("TBR stacks," my online group calls them -- "to be read" ... eventually.) I like books and I like reading about books, and Amazon and blogs aren't enough.

I fear I'm in the minority. How many people read books anymore, anyway? I'd like to think that book readers matter -- particularly to newspapers -- but it's not like the AJC's front steps were overflowing with demonstrators Thursday morning. The paper would probably get more protesting if it canceled "Mary Worth."

Still, I hope the "read-in" makes a difference. "Readers and writers are out there," said Ginger Collins of the Atlanta Writers Club. Perhaps enough of them can make their desires known.

How about you?
I still read books, and I think it's very sad that "Book Reviews" may become a thing of the past in many newspapers.
There are more of us out there than you think.
I am a total info junkie; addicted to the net, my cell, DVD's, you name it. BUT....nothing could ever replace reading as my #1 passion. There is absolutely no better way to leave your cares behind than immersing yourself in someone else's world. Through books I have traveled every continent, experienced loves, losses, highs, and lows. There is no better way to spend my "me time" then snuggled up with a great story. Pure bliss!
I love to read! I have a stack of TBR books as well. I feel like I will never have enough time to read them all, but I'm glad that they're there.
> Who reads books anymore?

I'm not sure how you can ask that question as we are just a few weeks away from what is one of the largest book pre-printings in history: Harry Potter #7.
I am an avid reader and like you, when I die will have a shelf of TBR books also. My life would be so empty and dull if I could not read. I have been an avid reader since childhood and can still recall the smell of old books as I walked into the library in my town, before they built a new one. I think books teach us so many things and are a very important source of information. I am surprised that such a large corp. believes people no longer read and that portion of the paper is no longer important to readers.
I read. I've read all my life. I love opening a new book for the first time and starting the story. I read for the sheer pleasure of it. I don't want to grow as a person, or be enlightened or have to analyze the message; I just want to immerse myself in a fairly well written story. My parents were readers. My brothers are readers. I worked for a city library for 25 years. I know books will always be desired & sought. "American Idol" will die & fade away. Books won't.
I love to read also. We are a 3 newspaper subscription household with multiple magazines too. I thought I was the only person with a mini library of books to be read later. Thanks for your insight.
As an aspiring novelist, former library assistant (read: nerd in high school), and life-long reader, I hope that things change and reading becomes more important again. Harry Potter has been great, as the books have gotten kids reading again, but it seems that people are more interested in "easier" and more "exciting" leisure activities than reading. You don't need to think that much to watch tv (no offense CNN), and video games look more interesting from the outside than working through pages of text. I just happen to get more satisfaction from reading, and hopefully there is a culture shift and more people choose to experience what I and many others do on a regular basis: the simple pleasure of reading.
I think this is a sad commentary on what our society values. I've always loved reading, and since I don't have a television (by choice), books serve as a signficant source of entertainment for my husband and I. I am saddened to see that major newspapers are choosing revenue over complete coverage of the arts.
I agree that books need to be covered more in our papers and magazines. People WILL read if they know what they need to read--look at the Oprah book club, and the massive sales that she has generated simply by bringing good books to viewers. Civilization is dead when we give up on books, they are a means by which we unleash our imaginations and communicate at the deepest level with the author and indeed ourselves. I know of no portable entertainment device---iPods included--that offers more value than a book when you figure in durability, reusability and lack of shareware prohibitions. Shame on those who fire book editors, and shame on those who do not read!
I stand with the book. Despite all of fabulous things that one can do with a computer, most people are still deeply attached to psper. Reading a short piece on the computer screen is fine, reading anything at length is punishment.

Give me the book, it is portable and not subject to all the limitations associated with my computer.
I am in complete agreement with you. I love books, and will also die with a stack I never got to. Nothing else transports quite like a book. Fiction, non-fiction, travel, how-to, whatever. Any small step in the direction of less print material is a step in the wrong direction, in my opinion. While I can understand a need to economize, newspapers serve as a society's noticeboards, and what does it say when books are no longer considered important enough to warrant a full time staffer? I'm assuming there is still a movie reviewer? 'nuff said.
On our first wedding anniversary, my husband presented me with a first British edition of an Agatha Christy. He knows me very well.

My TBR stack flows from my bedside table, to the coffee table, to my desk. When the stack gets small enough for me to notice individual books in passing, I start to get the compulsion to start beefing it up.

I love the way the spine on a new hardback gives a tiny crack when you open for the first time. I love the smell of a book that's been read and loved for fifty years, the feel of the thick paper, brown and frayed around the edges.

While my favorite activity is running my hand over a shelf in just about any bookstore and picking a volume at random, reading book reviews is an enormous help in navigating the vast numbers of books out there waiting to be read. I collect reviews very nearly as avidly as I collect the books, themselves.

It seems to me that any newspaper that discontinues its book coverage just might be shooting itself in the foot. The love of reading is something that has to be taught and fostered. If the popularity of books decreases, how long before newspapers become a waste of time?
On our first wedding anniversary, my husband presented me with a first British edition of an Agatha Christy. He knows me very well.

My TBR stack flows from my bedside table, to the coffee table, to my desk. When the stack gets small enough for me to notice individual books in passing, I start to get the compulsion to start beefing it up.

I love the way the spine on a new hardback gives a tiny crack when you open for the first time. I love the smell of a book that's been read and loved for fifty years, the feel of the thick paper, brown and frayed around the edges.

While my favorite activity is running my hand over a shelf in just about any bookstore and picking a volume at random, reading book reviews is an enormous help in navigating the vast numbers of books out there waiting to be read. I collect reviews very nearly as avidly as I collect the books, themselves.

It seems to me that any newspaper that discontinues its book coverage just might be shooting itself in the foot. The love of reading is something that has to be taught and fostered. If the popularity of books decreases, how long before newspapers become a waste of time?
I read a lot. My 13-year old daughter reads constantly, and she reads the book review section in our Sunday newspaper to see what to read next. And it would be great if there were more reviews of craft books in the newspaper. Newspapers seem to think that those of us who read books and are interested in more than "celebratity" aren't worth dealing with, but we have a household income of 150,000, and we spend money on books and reading material.
Wait....I get it. You write an article about people not reading, we all read it, and thus......sigh?....
Thank you for helping me not feel so guilty about reading ALL THE TIME. I have a room designated as a library at home, and am determined that my son will grow up loving it as much as I do. I'm okay with both of us reading at the dinner table sometimes, which we often do (and he's 6). There are still many readers, and they're never going to go away. What kind of a society would we be if we didn't have readers??
Todd,
Thank you for the opportunity to share about my love for books. I still read, I read quite a bit actually. I also enjoy reading the book reviews to get some ideas. It is sad to see so many independent book stores closing down, but now the newspapers are getting rid of their book editors. What kind of an example is this setting for the next generation? Will English teachers be the next to go?

BTW - one book I did enjoy is AC Dispatches From the Edge...

Read on!
How can the AJC, a major print entity, conclude that one staff person to coordinate print reviews is too many? The paper is undermining its value to its own core subscriber base of readers.

In addition to the read-in, there was a petition circulated that had several hundred signatures when I signed it.
I would be very upset if my hometown newspaper chose to eliminate book reviews, as I often use them to select books I would like to read. (Yes, I do use Amazon reviews and other resources also, but that doesn't diminish the importance of the newspaper reviews.)

I was very offended by someone I work with saying, "Books are dead," to me multiple times. She was talking to the wrong person. I have twelve bookcases in my home and a constant flow in and out from multiple libraries (you can use any town library with a hometown library card, which is one of my favorite things about my state!). My husband is also a great reader, and we are raising his daughters to be such as well. If books are dead, it's not our fault; we're primary life support.
Don't feel alone I'm also an avid reader :-). I could care less about the newspapers. I don't read them and they are filled with more advertisements than good journalism. I prefer to got into a store and pick up a random book vs. one that is supposedly "heartwrenching, and foretelling" according to Bob Roberts.
I love to read books and I always will. I don't know what it is about spending an afternoon with a blanket and a book but that is one of my most favorite things. Sometimes I don't want to watch tv or go to the movies! I just want a nice book to lay in bed with.
The sad thing about eliminating the book review section is local newspapers can cover books that reflect local interest -- books that will never get coverage in national reviewing media. It's a shame.
I hope AJC realizes that if people are not reading books, they will pretty much stop reading newspapers and move online for reading news as well. So, AJC should actually be on the forefront of a movement to induce more people to read books rather than eliminating the book review itself.

Well, we never learn anything from history!
I'm a passionate reader and have been all my life. It's a rare week when I don't add another book title to my TBR list or pile... Reviews are a great way to wade through the morass of new books, and I think it's sad that our society thinks it's gotten beyond what books have to offer.
There are still plenty of us out there. The book reviews in my local paper are the first thing I open on Sunday morning. I think the action of the AJC is more reflective of the overall revenue problems print publications are experiencing. I think we're in a period of reconfiguration, where many types of content are finding the appropriate medium to reach the target audience. The days where publications provide a wide variety of content to reach a broad audience are slowly dying. I'd say the popularity of bookstores, reading groups, and book web sites is evidence that there will always be a place for book lovers like us.
When I was a child, I was just an average student, never getting better than a C in any class. After my parents divorced and I moved w/ my mom to another state, I found books as a way to occupy my time until I adjusted to the new life. The exposure to books opened my mind to new experiences and my grades steadily improved as well. I still read voraciously and have just been accepted into a doctoral program. I honestly do not believe I would be where I am today had I not found books at a young age!
Finding the shelf of biographies in my school library when I was in the fourth grade literally saved my life - without those stories about Madame Curie, Abe Lincoln, Dale Evans and others, I never would have known that I had a choice, that I didn't have to have the same life as my parents. I know that books matter - and yes, I, too, have a tall, tall pile of To Be Read books...
Anywhere, anytime! If I have a spare five minutes throughout my day, out comes the book. My biggest regret is that I won't live long enough to read all the books I want.

One of my favourite childhood memories is going to the library on Saturday morning.
I love reading I don't live to read but usually have 2 to three books on me at any given time. I average reading 2 books hardback cover to cover a day more if I'm in paperback mode (romances). I read everything not nailed down and my kids do to. The love authors from Diane Duane to JK Rowling David Eddings & Michael Fiest to JD Rodd.
Hi, there are lots of who still read print books. I'm a Librarian, take it from me!
I was the kid under the covers with a flashlight after 'lights-out'. I am still that kid, even thought my schedule and my family come first. I am a big fan of public transportation; one reason is because it gives me the time to catch up on my reading! When I think about how kids these days communicate: cell, text messages, etc., no wonder communication skills are going in the toilet. The proper way to read and write the English language is taught in formal writing and literature classes. If we move away from that, I hate to think what the next generation's skills will be like. People simply don't realize the value of proper communication. You can't catch the nuances of a story line if you're abbreviating everything!
I don't agree. I think more people are reading books now, not fewer. But since the advent of sellers such as Amazon, fewer readers stick to the best seller lists.

If newspaper reviewers focus on books likely to be a best seller, the reviews will not be as relevant to the majority. Blogs and specialized book review columns/websites (such as SciFi.com has) will take the place of mass appeal book review columns.
I am an avid reader. I have been known to sit down, get involved in a book and read for 8 hours straight. My book collection is extensive: from History to Art to Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Everything but romance novels which I abhor. How someone could not read is forgien to me. And the loss of book reviews in the paper...if no one reads them.......
How many people read books anymore?? That's an unbelievable question. Walk into any major park on a sunny day and you'll see tons of people stretched out with a book. Take a ride on the NYC subway to see commuters reading hardcovers, softcovers. Listen at the watercooler to the people who are talking about their favorite reads. People still love to read. They love the writers who let us escape from our worlds and into theirs--and most importantly, love to recommend their favorite books.

Elimintating this information from newspapers is a bad step. Perhaps it's an insight as to why that industry is struggling to find a way to connect with readers--note, not advertisers--and present information that delivers a meaningful connection.
I still enjoy reading the printed word. Give me a good book anyday. It beats watching the trash on TV. It's a shame that we are no longer teaching our children to enjoy reading. Instead we give them all the gadgets out there for entertainment and we wonder why illiteracy is so prevalent in this nation. Books make great gifts!
I read. I read voraciously, enthusiastically, exhaustively, into the late hours of the night, while dinner burns on the stove, as my husband snores in my ear, in the passenger seat of the car and on the rare occasions I have a few moments to myself. Like most readers, I can spell, punctuate and articulate a point. I can also see ahead and I'm sadly certain the world will all too soon be filled with people who cannot do any of the above, people who will not even understand what they lack and how that lack strips color, excitement and breadth from life. We used to find those things priceless...how sad to see they have learned how to crunch the numbers on reading.
I have been collecting first edition mysteries, many of the signed by the authors. My oldest book is over 100 years old. I keep the old ones in a glass cabinet. Every once in a while, I'll take an old book out and smell it. You can smell the age and it almost takes you back 100 years. I have read books ardently for most of my life. I am hardly without a hardback book. Most are mysteries, but many are biographies or histoy books. I hate to think of a world without books.
I always read books. I am preparing to read a series of 6 books. My college age daughter has started reading more books. They are easy to carry outside. They are a great stress relief. You can jump into another world and forget about yours for awhile. In my family, the internet has NOT taken over the place of reading. In fact, most of my extended family works in the computer field. Reading is the best way to get away from work.
I am with you! I love books. Both my parents worked in the book business growing up, and I was surrounded by books. On my 10th birday, I received ten books under my pillow. I would still rather read books then do anything else. Bookstores and libraries are my passion. At night when I walk my dog, I feel sad because I can see people sitting at their computers or watching television. I feel more and more like the people in Farenheit 451, where books are banned. Local newspapers and libraries should work together to encourage more reading, not less.
My wife, myself, and our close circle of friends, are all avid book "junkies!" I guess we each read five books a week on the average. Reading takes us where our bodies cannot: I am a retired teacher who subs and I find a lot, but not enough, teens are still reading and most of what they read is quality material. In fact, I have added a few authors to my "buy" list due to them.
I read books all the time from the classics to pop culture books. I would suggest that the reason people are less interested in reading book reviews from the newspapers is because they now get that informoation from Amazon and all the other online sources. Plus book reviews were never that interesting to begin with.

Looking forward to the next installment of Harry Potter.
I love America, but America is basically an anti-intellectual society. People love to sit in front of their TV's all day like zombies. But there is nothing worth watching on TV. Turn off the television, and read a book. Your mind will thank you! Reading--and travel--are two of the greatest pleasures in life.
I'm not sure how much newspaper book review coverage reflects the amount of book buying/borrowing that's going on. But I can tell you that, as someone who looks at a computer screen all day, it is a pleasure to read good ol' fashioned black ink on the train home.
I think more people would read if they followed a simple rule: life is too short for books you don't like. You can sit through a movie, music album, or art showing and it won't cost you that much if it's not to your tastes. But books are investments of days and weeks. There's no point in force-feeding yourself 'Brothers Karamazov' just becuase someone scoffed at your copy of 'Potter'.
I am an avid reader and I enjoy book reviews.

I think it is insulting to assume that people do not read anymore.
I too love books. I have just returned from lunch where I spent 1/2 hour reading Promise Me by Harlan Coben. I look forward to spending a little time with a book every day whether fiction or non, entertaining or enlightening. I also subscribe to the newspaper and cannot start my day without sitting down with a cup of coffee and pouring over the news, sports, book reviews, and yes, comics. I have been fearing the day that all would be on-line. Sitting up and reading off the monitor or the laptop perched precariously is just not as comfortable as curling up with a newspaper or a book on your sofa or in your bed. And what about the smell of a new book or newsprint, and the feel of it in your hands. Books can be easily revisted and perused for favorite passages and can become dog-eared from loving hands. It just seems like work to read off the monitor continuously.

I love books and am so glad that I have many, many in my library and look forward to discovering new ones every day.
I tend to be an avid reader, but mostly for non-fiction books. I read a great deal on history, world politics, and have read countless books on the Middle East and Islamism. There really isn't a substitute for reading in the world of knowledge. Wikipedia and various blogs expouse a limited number of opinions that are based on sketchy, mostly internet-based, "facts". Of course, just because a book is published doesn't mean that it's factual or truth, but there is a great deal more to draw on from the myriad of books out there to form a conclusion than what Wikipedia (and the hundreds of sites that copy their articles) can provide.
I love to read. Thanks for reminding me that my priorities have been out of whack wondering who will be voted off Idol. Give me a great book anyday.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read! I can't think of anything better than a good book!
I'll bet the AJC still has a movie reviewer, a TV reviewer, and probably even a video-game reviewer, right? But they're dropping the BOOK reviewer?! What's happening to American values?!

I, too, was one of those flashlight-under-the-cover kids ... and these days, with chronic insomnia, I can get through a half-dozen books a week from the local library. (My bank account thanks the Austin Public Library with all its heart!) (Oh, except for that $39 late fee thing last month, when I had so many books checked out that I didn't have TIME to get back to return them ...)

Every single room in my house -- even the ones the French call "the smallest room" -- has books or at least magazines in it. The pieces of furniture of which I have the most are boookshelves. Thank God for melamine and particle-board cheapies -- I'd never be able to afford [much less get friends and family to help me MOVE] the walnut ones I really want!
Okay, as an MLIS (Master's of Library and Information Science) candidate, I do not want to read (yes, read!) that people aren't reading books anymore. Aside from the fact I am 40k in debt for this degree, I have to believe that I will acquire a job when I graduate. You non-readers should definitely be grabbing some books off the shelves from your local library or expect to help pay for my food stamps and housing!
I didn't know about newspapers cancelling book coverage, personally. I am 23 years old and read books and even though I'm very keen on the internet, I like to get ideas of what books to read from pamplets and newsletters I find at the local library with tons of reviews in it. It's a shame that people think that reading is "going out of style".
It's quite the chicken-egg question isn't it...

Is America becoming a country of, well, 'idiots' becuase we watch TV/Video Games/Internet rather than read?

Or are we already a country of 'idiots' and we prefer TV/Video Games/internet over reading due to our intellectual limitations?

Bill Waterson had it right in his comic strip...refering to the TV, he said (paraphrasing) Marx called religion 'opiate for the masses', only becuase he hadn't seen TV.

If everyone in this country turned off their TV and read for three or four hours per night instead...can you imagine the changes for the positive?
I think part of the problem is what's being reviewed in the book columns. I live in LA and whenever I look at the book section in the LA Times there seems to be a very hard edge toward mainstream/literary. Half the time the books they review aren't what I'm interested in. There's very little about mystery SF/F, horror, YA, or graphic novels (gasp -- did I just suggest that? Yes, I did).

I think the solution to this isn't cutting back their newspaper coverage on books, it's expanding it to more types of books.
I don't leave home without a book in my purse!

I read at lunchtime, when I eat lunch at my desk. Usually I read at dinnertime too, while I'm eating. And quite a few times, I'll even read a bit before bed.
I read at least one novel a week. I have a bag of books by the door to take to the used book store to trade for more and I have a book to ship off to a Paperbackswap.com member too. I have a book self full of books to be read as my husband does. The husband is reading three books at once right now.
The Sunday review section of our paper is the first thing I read. I love to read the Times book reviews as well.

My house is overflowing with books. I couldn't imagine a life without books in it.
How sad is this? Books are cool!
I just starting reading books again a few years ago. Nothing much, a few pages each time on the can. But looking at my shelf I'm surprized at how many books I've gotten through. Maybe I should cut down on the fiber?
Anyway, I agree that people aren't reading books less. If that were the case, Amazon and Barnes & Noble would be out of business. People are reading newspaper book reviews less just like they're reading the newspaper movie reviews less. They're more apt to believe Oprah about a book than some snob with which they share nothing in common.
Besides, newspapers today are an anachronism. I haven't read one of those since CNN and my local TV channels created their own news web pages.
I am passionate about reading and can't imagine curling up with a good computer to achieve that same enjoyment. I sit at a computer all day and certainly want to get away from that in the evenings.
I watch up to 10 hours of television a week, and read a novel a week. It can be done if one has the time and the desire. We need to model this behavior for our children or else this situation will not get any better in the future.
I think a day without reading is like a day without sunshine, hardly worth getting out of bed for. No matter what my mood, reading can get my mind turned to better things.
There is nothing better than seeing someone excited about books. It's fun to go to a bookstore and watch people of all ages look for books--if I can tear my eyes away from the pages to do so.
Book reviews provide valuable insights to new books and authors, and help them get discovered. Without reviews, many of today's popular authors would still be waiting for a bestseller.
Who's Reading!! I am. I've read 10 books since Christmas - 3 of which were gifts. I read daily, and enjoy the AJC's Book Reviews. While I don't always agree or disagree with the commentary, I enjoy other perspectives on publications.

Such a shame it's come down to a revenue issue. It will truly be missed. FYI...this "Read-In" was not really publicized in the metro Atlanta area, and I am surprised it made the national media.
I do. Latest: George Steiner's "Bluebeard's Castle".
First off, I just love the idea that people who sit down to READ the newspaper rather than to go online must not be the book reading type....yeah, that makes sense. On the other hand, most major papers stick with the big authors, and I don't need someone to tell me what the next James Patterson or John Grisham novel might be about. I personally go by friends, Booksense, and the newsletter at our excellent local independent bookstore. They tend to let me know about the hidden gems that I won't be hearing about otherwise.
I read books. In fact, I favor books over newspapers so much that I cancelled one newspaper subscription (Chicago Tribune) because it was taking away from the time I had to read my books. I maintained a subscription to the Sunday edition, mainly because of the Books section. Interestingly, the Chicago Tribune also appears to be succumbing to the anti-books mindset as they are about to absorb the Sunday book section into the Saturday paper. So much for my Sunday newspaper subscription…there is the evidence that book readers SHOULD matter to newspapers.
I still read books. I also have a stack of books to read as I get time. I still read my local newspaper, I love turning the pages. My 16 year old son still reads books for pleasure. My husband reads books. What's up with this story! Do you guys make this stuff up to see what controversies you can develop? ~Shirley
I'm 56. I grew up before the Internet and have always been a voracious reader. I read in long waiting lines and on the train to work, and I often read while walking down the street to my office building. Books stimulate the imagination in a way that the more passive entertainment of the visual media cannot. I think the printed page is friendlier for the eyes, too -- the manipulated light on a screen becomes tiring after a while. I'm sure many avid readers have TBR stacks. We buy books knowing we won't read them right away because one day we will, or might, and the book may no longer be in the stores by the time we get around to it. I buy current books rather than patronizing the library as a way of supporting writers and encouraging publishers to keep publishing.
I am nearing the end of another book right now. I like to put on an LP record, yes LP record, and sit and read. What could be better. When I am done I send the book to my daughter for her to read.
Hmmm, you're right - who reads books? When was the last time you saw a book store? They are tiny places. No one ever goes there -- oh wait. Book stores are EVERYWHERE and they are hugh and people sit there and read all the time. What are they thinking?
I also love to read and enjoy the newspaper reviews of books. I can read and good book and then not remember if I saw a movie, or read a book because the words were so vivid.
Newspapers have been scrambling for revenue as advertising and subscriptions decline. Yet a woman named Joanne Rowling became the first Billionaire on the planet by writing books, more than 325 million sold in 200 countries. Best of all she inspired a generation of screen-fed kids to read. A newspaper that eliminates book reviews and content to save money is cutting its own throat.
My wife and I both love books and read often, but our two sons read only when they are required to do so for school assignments. This is a disturbing trend that bodes ill for our society.
Books, books, books...the very things that make the world go 'round! I could never do without books. I read every day; I read everything; I read with flashlights; I read in the sun; I read, I read, I read!!!

However, I must agree, for many reading and the love of books has gone by the wayside. For every family that encourages and teaches the enjoyment and love of books to their children, there is another family immersed in other media.

We *must* maintain support of book reviews, reading clubs, and the like if we are to avoid becoming an all-electronic culture. When dependence on only one resource, electricity, becomes the dominating common element -- well, what do we do when we run out of fuel?
I love reading. I am constantly working my way through my TBR stack, making room for more TBR. Reading provides comfort at times when nothing else will. I love becoming invested in a characher, a story, and feeling as they do. Digital stories can never take the place of the written word.
Reading is the great escape!
Books rock!!! I simply can't imagine a world without books and book readers. I have been a reader for most of my life, starting with Nancy Drew, Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Hardy Boys. My sister does most of her "reading" by downloading books from audible.com but I want to feel the paper and the heft of the book itself and most importantly, see the words in front of me. I never leave home without a book on the off chance that I may find myself with a few spare moments (railroad crossings are good for a few pages) to get another couple of pages in. I don't think I could go to sleep at night without a few pages and almost never have a problem getting to sleep after reading. My husband and I could probably save money by buying paperbacks but neither of us really likes anything but a nice hardback. (We keep thinking the foundation of our house is going to crack some day from the weight of all our books but who cares?)

I wish I could claim to read only "important" non-fiction books but who am I kidding? I love fiction most of all and most especially the mystery, crime and spy genre. Occasionally something non-fiction will catch my eye and join my stack of TBRs but not so much.

Every room in our house except the bathrooms and kitchen is stacked with books. I know we should get rid of some of them but even though we will likely never read most of them again (too many new ones still waiting), we have a sentimental attachment to the collection.

Frankly, I think readers are just smarter than people who don't - and we have much better vocabularies too!
Does anybody read books anymore? Everytime I am in a bookstore they are busy places with people enjoying themselves, gathering information and just immersing themselves in the written word. I use the internet for all types of research but nothing will ever beat curling up with a good book!
I am an avid book reader. Like you, I have shelves of books and some are definitely in the TBR category for me as well.
But I have not gone a day in the past several months without picking up a book.
Sometimes just turning off all the electronics (TV, radio, computer)generates my imagination and helps me find that salvation of peace within me.
I'm right there with you. There's not enough time in the day to read all the books I want too, but I'm trying. And every source of book info is useful to me.
I love to read too, and I have entire boxes of "to be read" books. However, as a current college student, I have noticed that very few people my age (early 20's) take the time to read anymore (unless required for classes--and even then, most of them don't do it). I can only imagine what the younger generation will be like. Let's hope that reading makes a comeback!
I read books, usually in the summer at the cabin. I read science fiction and fantasy. Admittedly, I am a geek. But I like my books. I also do creative writing as a hobby and have had a couple of poems and one short story published. I'd hate to see books disappear completely.

Perhaps we could convert stories into another form, like interactive Flash animations with text and artwork.

There used to be artwork in books, but Stephen King's Gunslinger series is the only one I've read within the past 5 years with any artwork besides the cover page. Maybe books need to start having pictures again. Just an idea.
I read all the time, or at least I did before I had children of my own. Now I find myself cutting my reading time because everything else in my life is closing in on any alone time I might have. That is sad, truly deeply disturbing and in many ways very disconcerting to me. My children have begun to find their own love of books though, thanks in part to the hundred of books they see carefully if precariously placed in our two groaning bookshelves (I had to give up my other two we needed the wallestate) I have books for them to read and enjoy on their own as well as those that I read to them.

It is difficult though to think that my five year old is more comfortable plopped down in front of the computer than he is with a book in his hand. I am not a literary gourmand, I am very much a meat and potato reader, who loves science fiction, fantasy and pure escapism from the daily grind. I will always find time to read, I might lose out on a little sleep, but reading to me is fundamental to who I am.
Book reading seems to be alive and well and doing just fine. I used to own a small general purpose retail bookstore, but got out of the business during the wave of superstores. The distribution system for new books seems to change every 15-20 years, but the new books keep coming. I also visit my library once a week, and Ohio has an excellent public library system. I'm hooked on Walter Mosley at the moment, but I'll read just about anything as long as it is well written. The motto for my former bookstore was taken from Thoreau, who said: read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
I am 27yrs old, male and I love to read. I rarely watch tv and enjoy LA's large library often.
Save the Book Reviews!
People don't care about books?

I suppose that readers didn't get the memo, when one bookstore chain ran out of the latest Tolkien novel to be published. Or the fact that Harry Potter books drives huge crowds of both children and adults to bookstores, especially at midnight of the release date.

People today tend to buy books at your local supermarket, discount warehouses or the big changes of book dealers, not so much at the "Mom and Pop" at bookstores. Sad, but true.

To be honest, I always found the "book reviewers" to be rather complacent on reviewing books only ones that they are interested in, or when their editors tell them to review. Most books are not reviewed by book reviewers.
Strange. Movie critics review most movies.
Mega bookstores seem to be doing plenty of business - so SOMEONE is BUYING books. Me, I have several going at a time and the last two I purchased were prompted by book reviews. with NEWS not really being the big draw in newspaper anymore (thanks to CNN and others) newspapers HAVE to provide other information of a practical and entertaining nature. Eliminating the book reviewer in favor of what, more celebrity gossip? - is a mistake.
It seems that society can once again learn from literature. It seems as the world has forgotten about "Time Machine" by HG Wells. The Traveler ends up in utopia... where the inhabitants do not know how to do anything for themselves, but rely on the creatures who inhabit the underworld. These people couldn't read, write or have a society without the "workers" below them. I bet you anything that those creatures could read. And the utopian society wasn't so perfect.

On a side note, if anyone is looking for a new world, try Jasper Fforde. If you love to read, you'll love him because he entwines all aspects of literature into one volume.
Who still reads books? I do! It's appalling to see literature be forgotten in this instant-gratification mindset that the internet offers. Sometimes we all need down time to relax, tuck the kids into bed, turn off the TV and pick up a good book.
As wonderful as the internet is as a tool for obtaining information or bringing hours of entertainment; it can't compare with the visceral joy of actually holding a book. I love the turn of the page and the feel of that soft book paper between my fingers. There is something so satisfying about getting to the last page, sighing because it's over and shutting the book, especially a hard cover. There is something solid and complete about closing a book. It just feels good. I don't know that the type of book matters either, from cabinet repair to Shakesphere, the physical book should be honored. There's nothing like those great old tomes, filled with all the knowledge of history, or at least the history up to the date of publication.
It's an old phrase but I think I'll use it here, "Readers are Leaders".
I was discussing this with a friend who is a well known writer the other night. We were amazed by the bulk of the first printing of the new Harry Potter book. We talked about what J.K Rowling has done for creating some life long learners. Our excitement turned to despair when we realized that the first run of her book, 12 million copies or so, is less than the number of people who tune in to American Idol for an hour. Sad.
Excuse me. I read books and I read newspapers and magazines. What bother me about the tone of your story is that people who advocate reading are somehow "better". They are manifestly not. The chief cheerleaders of "free speach" are the very first to censor anything they disagree with. (Just try and write a comment to a Eugene Robinson editorial over at the Post that he disagrees with and it will be deleted so fast your head will spin). Same for your Anderson Cooper or any other columist. Ignorance and intolerance and even "illiteracy" is not merely the problem of the "unread", neither is bigotry, nor the sort of censorship we see the Bushie advocating. SOmetimes, often these days, it is a very big problem for the PC and liberal crowd, too.
I am an avid reader and have been since I was able to read. I, too, expect to have shelves and shelves of books left behind. The best way to develop your imagination is through reading. That's why I am passing my love for reading down to my 3-year-old son.
This is not an issue with reading books. The issue is how many people read newspapers. I for one don't. I get my info. from the internet. In my house we love to read, not just me but my kids as well. In Jax. schools require kids to read 25 books a year. Again, who reads books... just about everybody. Who reads the newspaper... not as many as once did.
Books still matter because readers will always matter. I've read one book per week since the fourth grade, and I just turned 56. I prefer the one-to-one relation I have with each book and its characters as opposed to the impersonal feeling I get whenever I go on-line. On-line reading can't be personal if you're sharing the site with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. While I feel badly that all my reading has probably led to the demise of trees, I always treasure, then recycle, my books.
Don't Atlanta Journal-Constitution editors know that these few remaining book readers are also the few remaining people who read newspapers anymore?
I too am an avid reader and book collector, with well over 1,000 books in my library...well, if you can call a library stacks of boxes and books in every room of my house, my garage, in my car, and still at my parents house! I like to think many people still read, but I don't see it too often. I inhale books the way others breathe. And in reading through this list of comments I'm thrilled to see there are others willing to fight for reading and printed books. Shame on AJC, you would think another print medium would have more respect for its sister form.
As yet another avid book reader, the AJC's decision seems a little bit like the boy who's going to take his ball and go home.

In my admittedly uninformed analysis, it's periodicals like the AJC that are going down in flames, while books are even further expanding their role in modern culture. The internet is a threat to the transient, not to the lasting.

Regards, Ross
It is indeed a sad day when books are regulated to the backpage of newspapers or magazines or are completed removed. I love books! I buy 1 or 2 books a week and I borrow from the library at the same time. I am reading right now "The Inheritance of Loss". So let all the book readers come out and show support for book pages in the newspapers/magazines.
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on and still do.

I don't know what I'd do without a good book to escape into these days. TV is out of the question; too many commercials and too much stupidity.

Wish more parents would teach their children the importance of reading and cut out some of the video gaming.
I think one of the greatest tragedies of the late 20th century is the downfall of the book. No one cares for the classics or even the modern authors like they should. Todays audiences want a soundbite or a downloadable synopsis. Feel pity for the teachers who must put up with whining about required reading. Reading has always been a historically guarded privledge.
I am also an avid read, with probably somewhere over 1000 books in my house(shelves are pretty full). I will read anything that holds my interest. In fact my entire family from across Canada all read and we frequently exchange books and recommend good authors and books that we have read to one another.

I think that it is disgraceful that the younger generation is not encouraged to read more as it increases vocabulary and is a greaat way to just escape and lose yourself for a while into the world of words.
Book reviews are like restaurant reviews or film reviews: you may or may not agree with the reviewer, but they expose you to a choice that you might not have been aware of any other way. For a print medium such as a newspaper to eliminate reviews of books seems counter-intuitive; aren't most book readers interested in other media, such as newspapers?

I am an almost life-long book reader (my parents tell me I started teaching myself to read at the age of 3), and there is nothing else that I enjoy more than a good book almost 40 years later. I enjoy having my library on display for guests, as I enjoy seeing the reading choices of other people displayed in their own homes; insight about another individual is immediately accessible, as are endless potential topics of conversation.

More than 2,000 years ago, Cicero apparently said it best: "A room without books is like a body without a soul."
This is more a commentary on the future of newspapers than the future of books.

I think books have a good future (lightweight, cheap, no worries about being stolen in the airport).

I am not so sure about newspapers. Just from an environmental point of view, wouldn't it be better if the newspaper switched completely to online? Just think of the trees, ink and cost of distribution.
Reading is Cool!
I absolutely love to read. I read at least 2 books a week. I've started reading at least one classic a month. I usually go to Amazon to get book info, synopsis, etc. If I do occasionally read the paper, usually on Sunday, I'll look at the book section to see what are the best sellers. It really doesn't matter to me, it seems like everything now is veered towards the Internet anyway. It's so convenient.
People may not be buying books, but the circulation of books at PUBLIC LIBRARIES have increased. Library usage has actually increased over the past decade despite many people thinking that libraries would be a thing of the past. The truth is that noone can afford books anymore. Why purchase a novel when you can read it for free at the public library? Why give yourself a headache and read a document, newspaper, or e-book online, when you can just check it out for free at the library?

The truth is that noone can afford books anymore - nor can the inner city poor afford internet access and therefore run to the library to fill their needs.

People are still reading books. They're just not buying them anymore. And public library stats still steadily increase ...
I read books. I read newspaper articles about books and sometimes buy them. I keep a "reading journal" and consider reading a minimum of 100 books a year a sign that I am living my life the right way for me. I love to discover new authors; newspaper book reviews are a fine source for me -- as is browsing at a library or bookstore. As an English teacher (big shock there), I know that having your child read is the single most important step a parent can take to help ensure academic success. Read yourself and read to or with your child. It's essential!
I love books, this is why Yomiko Readman is my favorite character.
I have many large shelves dedicated to them. No reality shows, no commercials, and no people being idiots just for air time.
In this instant techno world, at times I feel out of place due to my preference for the written page. I love and use techo gadgets extensively; however, few things surpass the immense pleasure of sitting with a book, magazine, newspaper. It is encouraging to know I am not alone.
As a school librarian I say that books still matter. I run book clubs for students and staff and have lots of patrons who love to read. The library also provides online resources but books are still the mainstay of the library.
I am an avid reader, having just completed "A Long Way Home" "5th Horseman" "The Secret" and am currently reading "The Road". Two of my three children are in book clubs in their schools and we visit the library on a regular basis. I encourage them to read instead of constantly watching TV and playing video games. So there are still some of us who still enjoy reading books.
The internet can be a great tool and even pass to some as entertainment, however, there is nothing more pleasing than falling into a book. A book moves at your pace, at your leisure, it wraps you in its bindings and some nights, more than I like to admit, will not let you go.
I spend all day at work staring at a computer screen. When I get home I have many other things I like to do and actually have anywhere from 2 to 4 books going at any given time. Nothing can replace curling up on the bed under a blanket and unwinding with a good fantasy world novel that takes you away to other worlds.

It is a shame that this is becoming a thing of the past.
I read three books a week! Most of it is popular and shallow, but I do dust off the classics several times a year!
I love to read, but I admit I don't use newspaper book reviews to decide what I'll read. I select books based on internet reviews and those recommended by friends and family.

However, if movie and music reviews are still provided by AJC, I don't see how pulling the book reviews is fair at all.
It seems a pity that newspapers devote any number of column-inches to covering "American Idol" and Brittany Spears and the like, but chose not to review books because "books are dead"...Perhaps the demographic of the newspaper is such that books are something that's beyond their attention span.
Keep reading banned books...
I bring a book everyday to work to read on my lunch break and I'm amazed at how many people make comments like "oh wow, do you actually read for fun?" or "gee, I wish I had time to read" as they talk for 30 minutes about last night's sitcoms. My husband and I got rid of our TV in the first months of our marriage, one of the best decisions we ever made. Some of my first memories are my mom reading to me and I hope someday my kids will remember that about me too.
I'm an avid reader. I admit I have a shelf of books "on deck" waiting for me to get to them. How come Barnes and Noble just opened another super store near me if no one is buying? I can pass by a fashion clothing store without a second glance, but a book store? You have to pry me away! :o) Yes I read and I read book reviews.
I LOVE reading books. Nothing is better then reading in bed at night with my cats curled up next to me. I can't get into the audio book craze, because I want to hold that volume in my hand, to let my mind truly get into the book, instead of trying to drive my car safely while trying to keep up with the narrator.
Technology is a wonderful tool. But what a shame that we are losing things such as books, reading, handwriting and drawing. Major part of my NY Times purchase - the Sunday Book Review. Not everyone likes to read things online!
It's a running joke among my family and friends that I will be forced to move into a larger apartment when I run out of room for books. Okay, it's not a joke but a prediction that will be proven true in the not too distant future.

I have a list of books two pages long to buy/read and I add to it at least once a week. I read anything--romance, sci fi, history, art, mystery, biographies--really anything. I read one or two books a week and purposely take a train to travel along the East Coast instead of flying to give myself more time to read.
I would be lost without a good book in hand every night! My 15 yr old is already a published author and I hate to think that her works may not get reviewed and discussed in a good newspaper because of the internet.
I alos love all things wired, but every night, without fail I read. (Just ask Borders!! )
Books have always helped define my life. I have been a bibliophile since I was in the 4th grade & I went from reading Judy Blume to stealing my mothers Frank Herbert sci-fi. I recently got married to a wonderful woman who I started talking to online simply because she mentioned a favorite author. We're well into a period of bringing stacks of books to one another and saying, "Here's one that I think that you'll enjoy."
...those who DO not read are no better off than those who CAN not read. Shame on America for increasingly becoming a nation of functional illiterates...
I read and my two sons read. This really isn't to do with people reading less and its actually far from it. If you go into Barnes & Noble on a Friday night you'll see tons of people who still read. No, this has to do with the decline of the newspaper. Book reviews, along with daily news, comics, and weather, can all be found in greater abundance on the web. People are turning to online sources more and more for many things. It has been years since I got a recipe out of the paper's food section. Oddly though I have never seen anyone reading a book online or even one in a PDF reader. They exist but they still aren't the same for many reasons - atleast not yet!
Books are my security blanket. Since childhood, no matter where I go I take at least one book or news magazine (usually the New Yorker) along to try to fit in more reading.

I have TBR stacks of books and news and information magazines at home. I have run out of books shelves. Like others here, I also love the smell and feel of books and the ambiance of my public library.

After years of online activity, I actually quit reading stuff online at home in favor of my beloved paper books. If the Sony ebook gets perfected, I might try that, but it won't have the same physical presence.

I suspect I'm the sole support of several online used book sellers. For this year's beach vacation some of my TBR pile will take up suitcase space. Substance over style any day!
please keep the Book Review.

I'm a reader, too! my library card is my favorite use of my taxes.
As a person who regularly spends close to $100 a month in books, I can say that I not only still read books, but that I prefer books to any alternatives, including audio books and eBooks. Having known quite a number of authors over time (including such authors as Anne McCaffrey, James P. Hogan, Jack Chalker, Mercedes Lackey and Marion Zimmer Bradley) I'm quite happy as a book reader.

But the problem is that in our society the idea of reading for enjoyment or entertainment has faded. We no longer count books as a way to waste a good day, instead it's go to the video store or play a video game. Books require thought and imagination, which is in serious short supply in our society today. And while you have the occasional surprise such as the Harry Potter series (or J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series) most people pass right by books as a legit way of enjoying one's self.

Perhaps C.M.Kornbluth is right in the observation made over 50 years ago... we are quickly becoming a nation of idiots.
I am an avid reader, generally non-fiction books.

The only magazine that I have subscribed to with any regularity as an adult since its reinvention in, I believe, 1982, is Vanity Fair.

I also am an avid internet reader of many, many sites.

At 59, perhaps we were a generation of readers, whereas now we have spawned a generation of "viewers" - who knows.

I do recall that in my elementary days in the '50s my teachers always would write on my report cards "Sharon reads all the time" or some such phrase.

I guess I never really stopped!

Save the book pages! We need to encourage more readers and thus more critical minds. This comes in handy when we are dealing with the type of government foisted upon us these past six or more years.
I travel extensively for work and cannot get on an airplane without a book. Reading is an excellent way to enhance your mind and imagination. I love the way a book feels in your hands and would so much rather read than see the movie about the book. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged for the third time - thanks Lost and Sawyer!! Many thanks to my mom who introduced me to reading!!
I designed my first "paperless office" and all online help system in 1986 after hearing about such things for at least 10 years. I believed then that printed books would follow, entering the same extinct status as the dinosaur. I'm currently surrounded by the ever presnet "Wall of Books" in the technical domain, and floor to ceiling shelves at home. Printed books are not going away until my grandchildren teach their grandchildren how to live without them.
Thanks for your article. I love books - my only regret is that I cannot read for a living:) We have lost something as a nation for lack of reading. Reading good books takes effort and time, perhaps two things that are waning in our culture.
In an excellent book I am working on is "The Well-Educated Mind," Susan Wise Bauer presents ways to read many genres of literature. It also includes many reading lists for those who do not know where to begin. As God told Augustine, "Take up and Read."
I have never read a book review in my life, except online. If I buy a book, it's because someone I personally know, such as at work, recommended it.
I work in an IT department in a university and every person around me except one (a student) has the "books are dead" mentality. All that exists for them is video games, reality shows and junk web content. My boss has forbidden me to write documentation in paragraphs, specifying that everything must be condensed into bullet points "so it'll look friendly to people who are used to reading the internet." And our user base is a university!
While the internet has replaced reading news papers for me it will never replace reading books.
I dont believe newspaper Book Reviews are a thing of the past, I just believe that they are missing a majority of the audience.

I enjoy reading books, but when the local newspaper has a book review about, by my opinion, some boring yawn of a book that I will never read, then I can understand why they wont survive.

If the blogs are getting it right, then why cant the newspapers learn and adapt. By the way, I dont like the Amazon reviews because how can their already be reviews for a book that has yet to be released?
I can't imagine a world without books. I grew up loving to read and will always be that way. It's too bad kids today don't read more. It's a great way to use the imagination and to relax.
My mother is 83 and I can't get her to stop reading. She's halfway through the Sue Grafton alphabet series. I can't keep up with her. Turn off the TV --- reading's much more fun.
I'm with you. I've been in denial for a long time, but at 65 it's dawning on me that a centuries-old tradition of books and reading is in jeopardy due to the conquest of the media by the computer. Personally, I don't want to read copy on a jerky, lighted screen. I want to hold a real book with fragrant paper in my hand and flip the pages with my fingers, not click a mouse till I need carpal tunnel surgery (again). And I want to read comments by real, trained, educated book reviewers, not self-appointed, semi-literate Amazon users with no credentials.
I have loved to read ever since I was a small child. I also have a TBR shelf and am a muliple reader-having at least 2-3 books going at once! I can never get enough.
Everyone should read more books and stop watching television!!! Books engage your mind in ways that tv just can't... head to your local library and reignite your imagination :)
I read books non-stop. It is not uncommon for me to have two or three going at any time. If the Internet figures into anything at all in my model it is as a positive facilitator for finding books.

I go to Amazon and/or other book sites, can get user reviews and also some mind-numbing references to other "like" books. User reviews often are much more objective than the crap you'd get from a Journalistic reviewer who has an agenda or angle to work into the review...though I tend to seek out certain national critics to keep an eye out for what to read...or NOT to read.

Good comments here, I've enjoyed this.
Thomas Jefferson said "I cannot live without books", and I think he'd still say it if he were alive today. I read one or two books a week and can't imagine not doing so, even though I work full time and have a family and hobbies. I'm probably overstating it, but I think a lack of interest in books is just one more indication of the long, slow decline of civilization.
I love to read. I read several books each week and have my own library of my favorites.
So many wonderful books to read, so little time to indulge in them.
I believe there are more avid readers "out there" than people suspect. I love to read, too. But I must admit that I don't read reviews very often, but am secure to know they're avalable to me. I want to hear, though, about new authors and look for their works in stores.
My wife and I are both reader. A few years ago the books we had collected since got married began to outgrow the small bedroom we had turned into a library. At the time I noted to my wife that we didn’t really use our front room / living room much. So we bought nine bookcases and moved the library into our living room. My wife was also in the process of putting together a spreadsheet on the books we owned . We have at last count 1200 fiction titles and probably another 200 nonfiction.
Then last Halloween , as the kids made there way by our house, we had one of the most hart warming surprises. A young lady ( probably 10 years old) and her mother came to the door. As I opened the door and brought out the bucket of treats I saw the little girls eyes get big and a smile from ear to ear cross her face . “ You have a library!” she said in an amazed voice. Her mother looked a little confused at first. I don’t think she understood the reaction her daughter had. After all to her they were just books.
I just want you to know reading isn’t dead, and there are kids out there that still love books.
By the way I have at least 800 TBR books on the shelf.
I hate to see AJC's excellent book review section removed, but they've already made the decision to cut their circulation and aren't sold outside Atlanta anyway. AJC is probably about to fold and is frantically throwing their intellectual features to the wolves.
I cannot read enough books. As soon as I start one I am anxious to see what my next one will be. It has been a lifelong compulsion that I never tire of.

James Montoya
Aurora, Colorado
Who reads books? I do! My students do! The teachers in my buildings do! While I agree wholeheartedly that many people seem to prefer computers to books, there is simply nothing like the feeling of a book in my hands. I work with grades DK-12, and I encourage all of my students to discover what interests them and then read about it. I show them how to care for books, how to choose books, and how to appreciate books. We listen for the crack of a new book spine opening, and we put our noses into the paper to smell the uniqueness of a book. We discuss genre and illustrations, award-winning books and authors. Without someone to guide us, whether it's the local public librarian, the school media specialist, or the book review editor, how will we begin to learn what to read? Eliminating positions like that held by Teresa Weaver is very discouraging for the education field and all those who love to read.
You cannot snuggle up in bed with the computer to read. Long live the book! There is something special about reading a book in your hands. There is a distinct difference between hardcover and soft. What are we teaching our children if we do not read or have books? My child has a love of books, for which we are grateful, and is in part due to her seeing her parents read. We go to the library and new/used bookstores.
I'm 39 and an avid reader. There is a stack of books on my nightstand at all times. (Right now there are about 20 books there patiently waiting their turn.)

I encourage my family and friends to read by passing along all the books I've finished. We each write our names in the inside cover, then pass it on to another reader. That may not please the publishers out there, but at least we're keeping the flame burning.

Books are brain broccoli and an important part of life!
I've grown up reading. I now read between 60-75 books a year. They help me relax, clear my mind and at the same time inspire me in so many ways.

Don't get me wrong, I'm also a big fan of other media (TV, Video Games, Movies, etc.), but none of them give me the same level of enjoyment as a good book.
I love to read. I cannot imagine a world without books.
Thank you for raising this subject. I, too, am a lifelong reader. Reading is like air, water, and food to me. I have a shelf of literally hundreds of "TBRs" and, even though I know I will never get to them all, I love them just the same. A book is a friend and a refuge. I can't imagine life without them.

I am interested in the online reading groups that have been mentioned. Please share any recommnendations!
I am an avid reader. I read about four books a week. Of course, I hardly ever watch TV. I think too many of us are too addicted the boob tube.
I read books. I read every day on my subway ride in to work. Last week, a nonfiction book on the history of censorship. This week, "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie.

Thing is, I don't read newspapers. I find books I want by wandering into book stores for the most part. I read what my friends read. I picked up Rushdie because I'd told my husband I'd never read him. and yes, I read about books on the internet.

So maybe the choice made by the AJC is a shame, but it's likely also a sign of the times.
Wake up America!!! Check and see how many libraries are closing because of budget crunches.

I too love books.
As a librarian, I have to agree with the previous poster who wondered why "Harry Potter" is so incredibly popular in print if we are no longer readers. I spend my days trying to encourage children to become acquainted with books, and to truly know the joy of information...first from books, then other media. Books can change lives. We lose a bit of our humanity when the art of holding a book, and the total sensory experience it provides, is lost.
So many books, so little time. I think that sums it up. Happily, I love audio books as well. But nothing replaces sitting with the newest book by a beloved author in my hands!
As a young child I had problems reading, and remember my Mom buying me my own copy of Dick and Jane so I could learn to read better. My first real job was working in a library part time and all my books in my home library are sorted by fiction or non-fiction, and then by author. My TBR pile next to my bed never seems to go down because there is always another good book to put on the pile. Not to mention a whole bookcase of TBR paperbacks to put in my purse or so I do not have to take the hardbound copy when I travel (plus I can leave it for someone else to pick up and read and I don't have to cart it home with me).

I look forward to reading book reviews in the local paper, and on line in the London Times, New York Times, USA today, The International Herald Tribune, etc. In fact, I have found so many books in newspaper book reviews that I would never have found in the bookstore - but my library got them for me. My favorite "find" had to be "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon from a review in the London Times. If you love books, this is a must read!

Let the idiots, sit in front of their television sets, but give me a good book with a chance to educate myself, or escape to another place and time for pure pleasure anytime!
honestly, what a bunch of pretentious remarks on this page. I like to read and I also like movies and television and music and theatre and sports. I don't think reading books is necessarily any better than any other activity. It depends on the person. If you like to read, read. If you like TV, watch TV. The reality is that it has always been a small percentage of people in the world who have even been able to read much less have a particular interest in it. So get over yourselves you pompous bibliophiles!
Of course people read books, lots of books, all kinds of books. The problem for newpapers may be that the book buying public is becoming as diverse as every other sector of our population with the increased availability of all types and varieties of books through the, gasp, internet. I routinely buy books on line that I never see in bricks and mortar stores. I also buy a lot of books in Spanish, and the internet is definitely the place to buy foreign language books.

I guess the real issue here is not do people still read, but are they reading fiction, or perhaps, more specifically, are they reading contemporary literary fiction? I for one do not, but then I never have. I have read a lot of "classics" over the years and am always in the middle of nonfiction works on a couple of topics, but I am not very interested in contemporary popular or literary fiction. For that reason, I don't read book reviews in newspapers. Besides the New York Times Review of Books (definitely the preserve of the more academic reader), I am not sure where to go and get intelligent reviews of books I would be likely to read. Mostly I just stumble across interesting books. Perhaps some day I will discover a method to the madness. Until then, I'll just keep looking out for the interesting find.
I am a reader, and proud of it. I average two books a week. Last year on vacation for a week on Florida, I read a book a DAY. I'm very fortunate that my 16 year old daughter is also an avid reader, and we've dragged Dad along for the ride. (Really he had no choice...it was twiddle his thumbs while the two of us dive into a book, or get a book of his own!) Because we all have different tastes, it's opened up various genres to the three of us, and cut our 'stupidvision' time in half. We balance the prodigious reading with other things, of course, but I would say we qualify as a family of bookworms.
I read plenty and love it as well, however, I think that since you can read just about anything online, we've diminsihed the incentive to go out and actually read a book, which in my opinion is much better than sitting in front of acomputer screen...
I am an avid reader and I would be sad to see book reviews gone fromm newspapers. Books are one of my ways to escape from stress.
I too also have plenty of TBR's in my collection.
Winston-Salem,NC
I agree that reading is a fundamentally important cornerstone of our education and enlightenment, as a society and individuals. However, I really don't think that "reading", itself is being challenged here. If the papers don't have the money to run book reviews, then head to the internet, the library, or local bookstores. I stopped getting the newspaper years ago anyway because everything I want to know can be found online, without the waste of paper. Because (aside from all the porn pictures) the Internet is all about reading. And nobody has mentioned that books - while wonderful and much appreciated by myself - do take up space, cause clutter, and use resources in their creation. There will always be readers, there will always be changing mediums through which we share and receive information and entertainment. I'm not worried at all, and anyone who is worried that kids these days don't read should head down to their local bookstore this summer and watch the lines for the midnight release of Harry Potter 7. Or take comfort that my husband, an avid reader, learned to read (and developed great problem-solving skills and excellent hand-eye coordination) by playing video games - so even activities that adults like to count as worthless can help kids learn valuable skills. Reading will always be important - but reading can take place in many different places and forms, and we don't need a culture of "book snobs" to look down their noses at anybody else for getting their written material from sources other than paper.
I'm a novelist and an avid reader. We need to do whatever we can to promote books and reading.
I am a huge reader and have alot of books. I always want more so I consider myself to be a bookaholic. I can't go without reding sometime during the day.
I love books! I have forgone years of movies and television in the pursuit of good books, great books, and even awful books. I'd rather imagine the scenes in my own mind, paint my own picture than see what someone else's mind conjured. Don't get me wrong, I'm not moviephobic, however, the book is almost always so much better!
Sadly I fear this is just the beginning. The written word is simply not valued in our society anymore. Today it is the book review that will be eliminated - it just a matter of time it will be the newspaper itself that will find extinction.
I love to read! Reading has been a passion of mine since I was 8 years old. A book goes with me everywhere, because a chance to read may occur at any moment.

I read almost everything and anything...reading is a source of knowledge and knowledge is a great source of power.

My TBR list never shortens, it only grows, thanks to book reviews from the papers, magazines, on the internet,and from other readers. It is a sad thought for me to know I will die before I am able to read everything I would like to read.

It is not good to know book reviews may disappear.
I love books, I sleep with my books, and as a country we need to put more emphasis on reading books. Just because the information from books is not as fast as the internet, does not mean it is not valuable. We put to much emphasis on buzz words and headlines that we don't ever actually try to understand the topics anymore. BTW I'm from the generation who can't even be bothered to read a full word, let alone books.
Please bring back the book!!!!
-22 year-old book reader
There's something magickal about a book. Computer screens irritate the eyes; minds wander when listening to a novel on CD; my loose papers never seem to be in order... I love the feel, the smell of a book. It's weight in my hands. I love how my mind creates the most amazing movie in my head based on the words I read... imagination it was once called. I love going through the titles on my TBR shelves and dreaming of the day I'll get to them, as I grab the latest book borrowed from a friend or the library instead. At 32, I was born in the last years of Generation X... perhaps the last generation for whom books were important, and the first generation for whom the digital world took over. But I will always love my books... I am lost to their magick...
I recently cancelled my cable and sold my only t.v. - I find that reading a good book is much more enjoyable!
I cannot imagine not being able to read books. I read out of a book for pleasure every single day & have read dailt since I learned to read. How else does one learn?
I don't know how to gauge how many people are regularly reading books. I live in one of the best educated and highest compensated areas of the country (Northern VA). A lot of people I know do not regularly read books. I read as much and as many as I can, knowing that I will never read all of the ones I would like to. I was short 15 credit hours of my masters degree, but I have learned more from the books that I have read since leaving school than anything else I could have done. Gotta love the TBR stack/list.
I'm a librarian, so I'm probably biased, but I believe LOTS of people still care deeply about books. Almost everyone I know reads, and reads a lot. Since I am a librarian, I'm continually asked by friends and family to recommend books. My group of friends spends a great deal of time talking about what we're currently reading, what we've read in the past and what we can't wait to read next. As I sit here at the Reference Desk I can see several people browsing through the stacks hoping to find their next great book to read. May that always be so!
Question: Who reads books anymore?

Answer: Smart people.

It is a simple as that.
No, the sky isn't falling. The purely economic decision to cut back on book review sections isn't going to mean the end of reading or the book as we know it. Fortunately, we as a public are not so shallow or fickle that we'll be swayed from our reading habits by the venal actions performed by corporate heads of the news media.
Who reads books anymore?

I do. Every single day; 365 days a year. I have books all over my house. I read the book sections in the newpapers. I can't imagine what life would be like if I didn't have books in it.
I'm 22 years old and have been living on my own for about 1 year now and have so many books I dont have enough book shelves for them. I read constantly and have read since I was little. I have a 13 year old sister that is the same way. I love the 'net and play the occasional video game, but there is really nothing better than curling up with a good book. My fiance and I have promised that our children will be raised to read books.
i enjoy reading books. there is something about actually holding a book in my hand that make it so rewarding. sure, you can hear it on disc or read it off the internet but it is just not the same. besides books i enjoy reading the newspapers which have way more information that you get from the 5 minute update. it is more detailed.

that's all for now.
My husband and I love to read. Our daughters are avid readers. I think you learn to love reading from your environment growing up or later in life you read that special book that sparks your imagination and opens your mind to an entire new world. We live in the southern midwest and during the winter months we are usually scattered throughout the house wrapped in a warm blanket reading a good book. Spread the word the book is always better than the movie.
I have four bookshelves filled to overflowing. I read--a lot. I appreciate reviews at a professional level. Amazon's reviews are done by anyone who wants to, and a lot of them just don't know what they're talking about.
I love to read. I find it quite depressing that books are falling by the wayside. As a teacher, it is especially depressing when students tell me that they have seen the movie of a book they have been assigned to read so they don't feel a need to read the book. I am afraid that their lack of desire will be fueled when major newspapers decide that books are not as important to review as films are. And I don't even want to think about effect this will have on our language.
I read every day. And I love the Book Review section of the newspaper
I agree, it's sad to see book reviews getting smaller in major newspapers. Over the last few months, the book coverage in my city's newspaper has gotten noticeably smaller. I have been a reader for as long as I can remember, and no matter how much I use online services, nothing will ever beat reading. I have over 400 books on my TBR list....and those are just the ones I have found in BookPages and pamphlets from various mail order book clubs. Given the chance, I'd spend my money in a bookstore, and my dream job is being paid to read books. It looks like those with similiar dreams are slowly being diminshed. How sad.
Not many people are aware of what the Internet has done in terms of damaging the newspaper and book publishing industry in terms of sales and interest. And while a laptop or a handheld is a convenient take-along to entertain oneself while waiting for an appointment or on a plane, there's still something that you can only get from a really engrossing read. The best example I can think of is the Harry Potter books. What other literary creation in recent history has captivated more kids and adults so completely? Hopefully it's not the last of its kind.
I read books every single day. Im re-reading "East of Eden" right now. In fact, I think the public has generally turned lazy for not reading books. Its what makes the imgination soar, its what provides dreams and hopes, makes us laugh and cry. Sure, movies can do that but its not the same. Passing a book along and letting another reader take time to read it on the beach, on a rainy day or on the train~its amazing. The web is not enough and does nothing to provide all the emotions neccesary in reading a book. Im totally against dropping the book reviews~I use them, even if the data is not accurate or agreeable! Books were my salvation as a child, we were not allowed much TV as kids. Im thankful for that now~Ive read books my entire life and love every minute of it!!
I carry a book in my purse at all times. I never know when I will have time to sneak in a few pages of the newest book that I can't put down. I have an overflow of books that I keep hoping to get to.
I love to read! It's the best way to travel without the expense, broaden my horizons, spell, pronounce, oh so many advantages to reading. When the television comes on in my house I pick up a book instead of watching. I can take my books anywhere and I don't need an internet connection! I'd like to form a book review group in my area (Lexington, NC) so I can discuss all the marvelous books I've read with others.
I am not only a writer of novels, I also read books... lots of books. I am really kind of disgusted with the way the industry has been going. I know they are out to make money, but they are starting to look like the music industry and if you like good music, you'll know what I'm talking about. I like to read fiction novels, in several different genres. However, they are being crowded out by celebrity cooking books, celebrity knitting books, celebrity whatever books. But then again, I don't count anyway, I'm over 49.
I read, on average, four novels per week, levened with a non-fiction book every week or so. (I have a lengthy train commute each day.)

The trouble with newspaper book reviews is that they rarely review the books I find interesting-- I don't care about deep, meaningful novels. I just want to be entertained. Instead, I read book reviews in magazines on topics that interest me, as they review the kind of books I like to read.
I have been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. One of my father's favorite refrains to me was "Get your head out of that book and look around!" I would look but then I would go right back to my book. I married a man that loves reading as much as I do. When I go to lunch with my book, I see others doing the same. Readers are out there, we simply a silent faction. Too busy with our heads in a book to look up occasionally, I suppose.
On average, I read a 1000 page novel per week. My biggest problem is I cant find an author to keep up with me. I just continue to find more authors that I enjoy. I cant imagine not reading. People that dont', do not realize what they are missing!!!!!!!!!!
I read in the subway....an hour a day.
I love books and reading. I couldn't imagine life without having the ability to pick up a book and read it. One of the number one reasons why I chose to subscribe to a particular weekly entertainment magazine was because it has a book review section.
Oh my gosh, even though I watch all those reality shows, there is nothing like reading a book. I am always a little sad when I finish a book, until I starte the next one Also the best thing about summer is reading a book on the beach. Nothing is more enjoyable and relaxing.
I am also an advid reader. I have a list a mile long. Reading is my way to explore new places, learn new languages, learn about people and what happens to them. I wish I had more time to find my quiet place and curl up with a good book and be off to a new place.
I am a 19 year old woman who has been reading avidly since I was 4 years old. By the time I got into 5th grade I was reading at a collage level. I love reading books, espiacally ones that have supernatural or a sci-fi theme. I have read Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare months before my ninth grade even got to read one of his plays, and I did it with out the little notes on the side telling you what certian words meant back in the time that the works were written. I also read the newspaper and I am a former High school Journalist, who loved to read and work on the paper. In my ninth grade year on my fourth day in my english class my teacher noticed that I had a new book. She asked me if I had finished the other the I had just gotten a few days ago and I said yes. She made a deal with me that if I could read 100 books by the end of the school year in June and it was September. I agreed and my library helped by keeping track of the books and giveing me a quick quiz after to see if I read the books. By the end of the school year I had read a total of 150 books, all for fun. I love to read and I have over 500 books packed away that I love to read over and over agian. Every one needs to read, it is a good way to relax.
I find this whole topic very sad. Reading is a most important part of my life. I never go anywhere without my current read with me. My TBR pile is most accurately called a mountain: Mt. TBR! I was raised around books; favorite times with my father where in the public library, each Saturday. I belong to to a web site called Paperbackswap.com, where I can share my books and receive books from fellow booklovers all over the country. Bookreaders are special people, and shame on the paper for wanting to quit this service to their "readers."
I will admit to being an internet junkie but nothing-NOTHING replaces the total enjoyment that I get from reading books!!!! I have been an avid reader since childhood and there's just nothing like getting comfortable and immersing myself in a book, whether it be fiction or non.......
I'm 53 years old, and have been reading since I was 4 years old. I would read the dictionary or the encyclopedias at home if I couldn't get a ride to the library. I feel that I have a world class education because of all the books I've read in my lifetime. I feel that I've traveled the world through my books. I confess that I don't always read the book reviews in the newspaper or magazines, but that doesn't mean that I don't read books (or whatever else I can get my hand on, including the back of the cereal box!!) There is nothing more relaxing and comforting than to curl up on the sofa with a big thick book and a hot cup of tea! Vicki Childers
I read! I read books! In fact, I was reading children's books before I went to kindergarten and I haven't stopped since. The hardest part about going to college was my decision to not allow myself to leisure-read during the semester. (I knew that I would forget to go to class and put off homework until far too late once I got caught up in a good book.) I am so glad to be done with that exercise in self-restraint.

Bookstores have always been my favorite stores. I love the feel and the smell of books. I have almost a dozen books stacked by my (very full) bookshelf or by my bed at home. Those are my choices for my next read, once I finish with my current one. Of course, that assumes that my favorite bookstore doesn't have a sale between now and then. Or that I feel the need to re-read an old favorite. And, that doesn't even touch the bookshelves of old books that are at my parents' house. (They don't fit in my place.)

My parents started me on a love of reading before I could even speak and I intend to do the same with my future children. In the mean time, I lend my books out to those whom I trust will read them, enjoy them, and return them in perfect condition. I do love my books!
As for "Who reads books anymore" a resounding I DO! Lots of them. As many as 15 a week sometimes. I simply can't go without them. Reading is in an equal space with eating and breathing to me! From one reader to another(many others) I think this is a sad result. I will admit that I don't read mainstream as much but I do often get ideas from the reviews sections. These ideas spread and grow incrementally, I find other books from the mainstream ones and recommend them feverishly. I do love the internet and on-line things but only as a secondary to reading. ~~Gail
I'm a huge reader as well. I tend not to read book reviews, but this news does sadden me. Someone else mentioned the seventh Harry Potter novel - I'm a fan of that series. I will be pre-ordering a copy from an independent bookstore in my area.
Kim, Boston MA
I love books, all kinds of books. I read at least two at a time. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have books to read. I currently have nine shelves of books I want to read. Too many books, not enough time.
marcia-Spokane WA. Who reads book any more? Anyone who is not an idiot.
I love books; I love the feeling of holding a book in my hands, opening the cover immersing myself in the pages. Best of all no batteries are needed! A book can be enjoyed any time and any place.
I'm a huge reader. I'm an idependent sort, so I don't tend to read reviews, but this news does sadden me.
I'm also waiting for the seventh Harry Potter novel, which I'll be pre-ordering through a local independent bookstore. I'm glad they're carrying it - a lot aren't since they feel they can't compete. Does anyone think these two issues may be related?
Your blog posting is talking about two different topics. Just because subscribers and advertisers no longer read and support newspaper book reviews (when they can get much more content and exposure, respectively, online) doesn't mean that people are no longer reading.
Good news -- there are still plenty of book readers out there! In my mid-sized Midwestern city, the local libraries have seen an increase in both adult and child circulation transactions. Not only have the absolute number risen, as would be expected with our growing population, but our per capita library transactions also rose over the last five years! Of course, our per capita rates are also about double the US rate, so it looks like we are reading someone else's share of books.

Nonetheless, I'm unlikely to get exercised about a decrease in book editor positions in print media. Print newspapers are fighting a losing battle against consumers' growing reliance on cable television and the internet for our news consumption. If cutting a book editor helps them make ends meet, I won't criticize them for it. Library programs, online book reviews, and the good-old-fashioned reccomendations from friends will keep literacy -- and even better, logophilia and librocubicularism -- alive and well.
First of all, check out MERGING WITH MONSTERS, a suspense thriller by Joseph Eugene Green. Read the reviews at AMAZON.com.

Now, regarding this topic, I think if newspapers worked harder to cover the books that people might actually read - it would not only improve readership of the newspaper - but help get even more people into places like Barnes and Noble. People are reading and whenever I visit a bookstore, they are more often than not, very busy.

It just that many newspaper book editors project a very elitist attitude, often choosing to review books of little or not interest to no one in particular.
I could never imagine curling up on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon with the latest Anne Perry...online. There is nothing more thrilling than holding a book in your hands, enjoying the thrill of what the next page will bring. Books will never go away! And I admit, I read the book section first every Sunday. :)
Thanks for highlighting this important topic. As a book lover and book critic, I'm hoping the AJC reverses its misguided decision to axe its book editor.
I read all the time. I always have a book with me. To me, nothing is more relaxing or fulfilling as delving into a good story. As an English teacher I take it upon myself to try my hardest to inspire future readers. I will admit, at times the situation seems bleak, and then I'll have a student email me to tell me about a new book that he just loves. Those moments really mean a lot to me.
Not read!!?? How can anyone contemplate such heresy? Let us not go the way of Farenheit 451 (which, by the way, is the BOOK being read in the "One Book, One City" promotion in Indianapolis this year.

Grace Carpenter, Bloomington, IN
I absolutely love to read and usually have two or three books going on at the same time (in different subject matters). Magazines are enjoyable, too; however, I don't read print newspapers due to all the negative stuff (just catch the headlines online). I don't mind reading stuff on the Internet, but my brain doesn't wrap around the computer like it does a book. And, I like to be able to go back and read a book again, if I so choose (and do). Besides, there's nothing like the feel of a book in your hands when you're reading it AND it's so much more compact and portable and doesn't use any electricity--unless you need a reading light, of course. Granted, e-books are cool and they save a lot of space and paper, but....

I'm getting ready to move again and, as usual, there are more boxes of books than kitchen stuff--and more books this time than the last.

Life is good with a book. Reading opens up a whole new world just waiting to be explored.
I spend more time and money on books than on anything else. And as an aspiring novelist, I don't want to hear that people aren't reading anymore! Between Paperbackswap, BookMooch, TitleTrader, BookCloseouts, and Amazon, I always have a stack of books in my mailbox and another stack on their way to the post office. And the number of members on the online book swap sites tells me there are still plenty of readers out there!
I personally don't read the book reviews. My taste in books run to Sci Fi/Fantasy. You usually don't have any reviews of these books. I also read mysteries, and again, not too many reviews. Can't say I'll miss the reviews too much, but occassionally, there is a good review for a book I normally wouldn't read.
Not only is the AJC getting rid of all the local book reviewers, they are also firing their movie reviewers. Is there any point in subscribing to a local newspaper anymore?
I read popular ficture every day - while drying my hair (10 minutes can see a lot of pages read), while waiting in lines at the post office and store customer service counters (they are so much easier to endure if you have something to do), etc. I take advantage of libraries more now than I did in the past due to the cost of books, but I would be lost without them!
What I want to know is how people survive without books. TV is brainless and insulting to my intelligence most of the time. I would rather read. SAVE THE BOOK REVIEW!!! Our culture has really declined when books stop being important.
I am only 24 and guess what? I still read books and I still read newspapers. I too enjoy reading reviews and essays. Recently I have been devouring the works of Vonegut. I follow almost every novel or short story collection with critical essays. Most of them have made me reread a passage or look at a character in new ways.
I am glad to see that people will stage a "read-in" for a worthwhile cause for a change. From the first time my mother read to me as a toddler to this day, reading has brought me pleasure as no other form of entertainment which money can buy. Reading opens the creativity of the mind and disciplines one to take the time to sit and follow through on a task which doesn't provide instant gratification. This country is in trouble due to the high level of illiteracy. If we don't create more readers, we are going to be far behind in our future development as a nation. It's a shame when the superpower of the world, America, has such little taste for books. Please go out and get a book. Try it. I promise you'll like it.
I probably have more TBR books than I will ever have time on earth to read, but I come by this honestly, as I am a great lover of books and of reading. Newspapers however, may not necessarily feel the need to support our hobby without some financial gain for their business. Publishers of books have the same concerns and do not print selections which will not make them a profit. It saddens me to think that the pleasure of reading a good book is falling out of the mainstream, but a small turnout to save a book review column does not mean the death of book publishing. We who love reading books still find time for other entertainments. We gain knowledge from other sources too, but books have been with us for so long I doubt they will ever fall from fashion entirely.
I, like many people, love to read. But, I find that I often don't have the time to read whole book or I feel guilty spending time reading. I feel like I should be spending time with my family or working or some other mundane everyday task. But, I'm totally in love with audio-books. They are great! You can listen on the way to work or on errands or whatever. Books are great and we need to continue to find the time for them. They are what make us a intelligent, literate society.
This is too bad. Here is Chicago, the Tribune is moving its books section to the ghetto of the very small and little read Saturday edition. Personally, I find out more about new books from the newspapers as well as local readings and signings. How much do they lose; how much does it cost to have a decent book section of a local newspaper?
Yes I am a reader, even in this video age. I love books, the words, the feel of the binding, the smell of the paper, everything! But more importantly I have tried to raise 2 more readers in my children by reading to them since they were born. If we all could do this with the kids in our lives, there will always be need for books.
i got a trophy for reading the most books and raising the most money in the MS read-a-thon way back in elementary school (i'm 32 now).

i used to read late into the night, until i could barely make out the words on the page anymore. i still read till late into the night but not quite as late since i do have a day job.

i LOVE reading. i've read all but about 3 of my favorite author's books and well on my way to having all of another favorite author's books under my belt. without book reviewers i won't have a clue what to pick when i have run out of things i haven't read by my favorite writers.

there is nothing better than curling up on my couch with a good book on a rainy day, or out on my lawn with a good book on a sunny day.
I've been reading books as long as I can remember, and to this day I read at least once a day, even if it's just 10 minutes before bed. Currently plowing through the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, and I couldn't be happier with it.
I still read.. print media is timeless, holding many advantages over electronic media... even though wireless internet and the ability to connect in most major cities is an asset. Print media can be taken literally anywhere, and you don't need a power source or a battery to look at it. I don't think the question should be whether print media is on the decline but whether there is enough emphasis placed on content... with only 2 recent super mega selling books/series coming to mind, (Harry Potter series and The DaVinci Code) i believe the key to a print media revival is to start publicizing worthy novels of any and all tastes and topics. Print media primarily seems to sell on three points, 1: Fame of a writers name (aka. Grisham or Brown).. 2: from word of mouth or 3: Fame built off a mega selling title (aka. The DaVinci Code) Best seller lists seem too dominated by the same cookie cutter formulas, designed to ride the wave of popular culture, hence the 30 something templar books out right now, some holding lofty positions on best seller lists. I think the approach needs to be different, with more interest in exposing all genres and making the preview of such titles more available and easily accessed. Chuck Palahniuk for example is a very accomplished and exciting writer, however if not for the hit movie fight club adapted from his book I would have never known he even existed.. Lastly I think price turns many away from the prospect of print media.. when a hardcover runs you anywhere from 30-50 dollars and a softcover retails at 20 dollars and up.. many people would rather take a walk to their local electronic mega store and pick up a dvd for less then 20 dollars.. or an entire season of television for 30-50 dollars. In a modern world where books can't compete with hollywood explosions in TV and movies, they must compensate in other ways, perhaps in price, perhaps in exposure, perhaps like indepedent film, publishing firms should also place more value on niche writers or fringe topics. All ideas to bring about a revival of our beloved print media.
Reading has always been my passion. It has gotten me through times that nothing else could. We can't let books or information regarding new books slide off into the sidelines.

There is NOTHING that can replace a good book.
I absolutely love to read. I think the love of reading starts from the very beginning. If a child has parents that do such things as read to them, frequently go to the library and most importantly read also, a child will grow up to do the same. What is so sad right now is that many parents are either too busy, don't think its important or they do enjoy reading or they may not even know how.
I have been an avid reader since I was 13 (59 now...you do the math) as were my parents. I have been a Science Fiction reader for all those years, though I read general fiction and mysteries from my mother's collections when I finished a SF book and did not have any more to read. Several of my cousins are avid readers also, ages from 9 to 66 as is my aunt who is 89. Although I do not read any reviews in the papers or magazines,
my mother and one of my cousins would read the NY Times Book Review section of the Sunday NYT almost religiously, as do many others.

So, who reads books anymore? . . Most of my family as well as many millions of others still do, just ask the book publishers how many titles they publish each year, even of they aren't the block busters such as JK Rowling's Harry Potter series.
I am a voracious reader. I don't think books are going anywhere anytime soon. We read enough things online every day that I think most people who enjoy books will continue to buy them. That being said, I've never been a big fan of book reviews. I am ambivalent about what the AJC is doing--I've read maybe half a dozen book reviews from them in 10 years, and 2 of them were handed out in a class.
Books are my joy and I can't imagine living without them. I know that many people these days don't read books but, oh, how much they miss!
I love reading. I dont understand anybody who says they hate reading. I have over 300 books in my small apartment, most of them history books and I just love being surrounded by them. Technology today has taken away from just sitting down and reading a good book. Most young kids prefer to play games on a computer instead of sitting down and reading a book.
I love books and book reviews!!
My husband I love to read. Our idea of a great Saturday night is to go to Barnes and Noble to browse and buy books. (It's usually very crowded when ever we go, so I assumed people were still reading.) We love the book section of the Sunday paper. I can't go to sleep at night unless I read first. When my kids were growing up I read to them every night. I hate to see the way technology has changed our society.
Just go to any one of the used book swapping sites, like Paperbackswap.com and you will see there are still people who read and are fanatical about it. I personally read about 8 books a month.
Maybe book reviewers should occasionally try to promote mainstream literary books that the masses might actually enjoy. There is a huge appetite out there for entertainment but when it comes to books, the focus is too often on special interest. A great novel which has not received enough attention is The Unexpected and Fictional Career Change of Jim Kearns, by David Munroe.
I was taught to read at age 2. I read constantly as a child and now as an adult. I love my local library and support them in every way I can. I always enjoy reading book reviews in magazines and newspapers. I think it's sad that this will soon be a thing of the past. I think it's even more sad that most adults and children don't even have the reading comprehension required to read and understand books beyond the 3rd grade level.
I'm a reader and a writer. It's a part of my identity. I have shelves and shelves of books and my own share of TBR stacks.

But regardless of the above, books are just this physical part of life I can't imagine being without. Who wants to curl up with their laptop on a rain day with a hot cup of tea?
I was taught to read at age 2. I read constantly as a child and now as an adult. I love my local library and support them in every way I can. I always enjoy reading book reviews in magazines and newspapers. I think it's sad that this will soon be a thing of the past. I think it's even more sad that most adults and children don't even have the reading comprehension required to read and understand books beyond the 3rd grade level.
I am a 16-year-old female who ownes 600+ books... readers do survive.
there's no time for books. I need time for kids, wife, work and other hobbies. I simply can't devote time to read. Also books are overpriced and most of them have little replay value. I can spend 28$ on a book I might end up enjoying or spend 20$ on a video game that I can play for 4 years (This is actually something I've done)
I personally read about 8 books a month. If you go to any of the used book swapping websites, like Paperbackswap.com, you will see thousands of people who still read and are fanatical about it!
Johnathan Rand, who writes books for kids says, "Reading isn't something you do, it's someplace you go." I want people to suggest to me all places I might want to go.
I still read. Isn't that amazing? I've got nine packed bookshelves in my apartment and when I have visitors, they often remark: "Like, you've got a lot of books."

I read books in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian. I live in the States, but have lived in Russia and Mexico. I can tell you that the only place I have ever been asked why I read so much is here in Texas. I'm looked upon as being strange, since I prefer to read than watch television.

I'm currently working towards my Master's in Literature and have students who, at age 18, tell me that they have never read an entire book in their lives.

Of course this is sad. I wonder what I'm going to be teaching in five or six years.
Sooo many books, sooo little time! Technology and continued advances will NEVER replace the printed word and the joy found in the pages of a good book!
My wife and I still read books. I try to spend at least half an hour to an hour reading every day just for the pleasure of encountering other people's ideas and writing styles. Written words can have a magical effect if written well. We each have separate bookcases of TBR books and whole walls of bookcases of books we have read. I keep a book inventory in a PC database so I won't buy my wife duplicates as gifts. The latest count is over 2,000 books in the house and we probably have enough years left to double or triple our collection.

I frequently buy books with the objective of finding authors I have not read. In that event, I could really use book reviews to help me evaluate books and authors that are unknown to me. Not the reviews of a critic who is promoting his/her own intellect by trashing every book he/she reads, but rather a review that tells me about the book. Is it easy to read or verbose? Is it excessively descriptive or all dialogue? Is it fast paced or like dragging oneself through knee-deep mud?

Will I buy every book that gets reviewed? No, probably not. Will I buy some books based upon reviews I have read? Yes, I have before and I will again.
I can't survive without books! Blogs are poorly written expressions of mostly just opinions, by people who have done little or no scholarly research on the topic. Writers uplift us and paint a world into which we can step. Blogs bring us down to the level of the gossip. I can't stand reading blogs, they raise my bood pressure with their bad grammar, minimalistic vaocabulary, poorly developed arguments, and ill informed statements. Give me a book any day!
I ride the NYC subway to and from work; the diversity of the ridership is amazing. The diversity of what the ridership is reading is also worth mentioning: newspapers in the morning, of course; textbooks, too, that's no surprise. But the books people choose can be so entertaining. Just today, I saw a stylish young woman reading--perfect!--Thackeray's VANITY FAIR and a 20-something guy in jeans and a Yankees cap reading THE ESSENTIAL AENIAD. Gives a booklover some hope. Our need to read is driven by unique impulses as much as--probably more than--the critics' yay or nay.
The sadest moments I experience re books is to go into a home and not see a bookshelf... and that seems to be the rule rather than the exception of late. I have my own library, cause I can't quit buying books... and I seldom allow them to leave. My TBRs number in the hundreds... and so it goes...
Personally, I try to read a book a week (or every other week at the least). With everything being so new and digital, it's nice to do something simplistic and retro like reading. Reading also helps me to escape the everyday "heaviness" of life. There's nothing like curling up with a good James Patterson book after a 12 hour day of corporate litigation!
I can remember being read to as a child. I had my favorite books memorized and knew if someone changed even one word. All this before I could read for myself. I have boxes and boxes of books because I can't bear to part with them once I've read them. I often re-read a particularly well-written book. And let's not talk about the bookcase full of TBR's! I hope the AJC reconsiders their stance. Readers make the world go round.
Sooo many books... sooo little time! Technology and continued advances will NEVER replace the printed word or the joy found in the pages of a good book!
I get mixed messages about this issue. Here in Canada the big bookstores (our equivalents to Barnes & Noble, etc) are always crowded with people, yet smaller independent bookstores and second-hand bookstores are often struggling to survive because they don't have the customers. I get the feeling the big bookstores are considered "cool" places, and it's considered "in" to buy Oprah's latest favorite, but the question is whether anyone is actually reading anything. And of course there are those who predict printed books are a dying breed. Well, I personally cannot read e-books (it's physically painful to do so as well as I just dislike the format). I do fear that the next generation will lose interest in reading printed material and focus only on reading e-books and websites, and that's quite sad. It is reassuring to see people in their teens and 20s still reading voraciously, but I'm encountering far more people who don't have the time nor inclination to pick up a book (especially a PRINT book) unless they absolutely have to. A friend of mine teaches a university English class and has discovered a number of his students don't even bother to read the material, choosing instead to get the basic facts about the books from places like Wikipedia (the 21st Century equivalent to Cliff's Notes?).

Personally, I've already made a decision that if the day comes that printed books become passe, then I'll stop reading "new" material "published" online (except things necessary to do my own work) and be content that there are far more books in my own home library than I am likely to have time to read in my remaining lifetime, anyway.
Who reads? I do! 3-4 or more books a week. (Thank God for paperbackswap.com!) It is so sad to think that the growing lack of literacy will be fed by newspapers, which themselves need to be read, by limiting or discontinuing book reviews. The day the New York Times stops its book review, I know the world will have ended.
You are not alone. I too have shelves of books that I'm sure I will get to read "someday". They are truely my friends, and are both a source of comfort and advice. Give me a book anyday. The feel of good quality paper, the smell of the ink ... it is truely a tactical experience.
I read the Times article yesterday. It is dismaying to read that book editors and or book sections in newspapers are falling out of favor. Many others have already commented much better than I but I will say this. Books are important. Reading is important.

I too will have a TBR list when I pass away. That will be sad because there will always be more books to be read than time to read them all.

I am avid reader who always is reading three or four books at the same time and still will pick up one or two a week to add to the to be read list. Without books life would not be nearly as interesting. To me breathing and reading go hand in hand. I could not exist as a critcally thinking, fully engaged person with books and reading.

David R. Greenfield

Syracuse, NY
I don't understand the commentary. Here in San Francisco, I read at least one book per week and I buy more than one per week on the average. Most people I know are heavy readers. Right now I am reading all of Lawrence Durrell - but in my case I get to read to/from work on the train, where I see just about everyone else reading. Is there a difference among city. suburban and rural readers?
What? You haven't heard of BookCrossing?

Members: 551,653
books registered: 3,875,468

Bookcrossers goal is to turn the world into a library.

There are many more book readers than most people seem to be aware of.

We call our unread books MT. TBR. At least most of us do. Many of us have more books then we may ever be able to read in one lifetime. Yet, we're addicted and continue to acquire more books. Not read? I can't imagine a world without something in it to read.
I read all the time, and my "TBR" pile is about to eat me alive, but that being said, I never read book reviews--newspaper, online, or otherwise. They mostly talk about books I will never ready anyway. I prefer to get my book recommendations from friends or from the people in my book reading groups. So I can't exactly claim to say I'd be heartbroken if my newspaper stopped supplying reviews.
Isn't it a little strange that there hasn't been one word about this decision in the AJC? The editors are probably too distracted sending out reporters investigating reports of Margaret Mitchell, Lewis Grizzard and Celestine Sibley turning over in their graves.
I could not live w/o books and have a box of TBR books also. Reading off the web is not the same thing at all. Where is the pleasure of opening a brand new book, holding it in your hand, the anticipation? Books are irreplaceable.
I work in a small town library (population 15,000?) where we typically see an average of 600-700 patrons per day! We currently average about 12,000 patrons in our database, and issue an average of 10 new cards a day! We also have an adult book discussion club that meets every month as well as a childrens book discussion club. There is a whole lot of reading going on up here!
Every one reads! Books are a joy, a blessing, a world of fantasy. Try reading a lap top at the beach, or on the plane. Eye strain and dry eyes. I personally read the book reviews in the newspaper. How do I know about a new book of national or regional interest unless I read about it in the newspaper? I find new books on-line very rarely.
The joy, passion, sorrow and total immersion one can experience in a good book can never be replaced by the Internet, TV or video games. To me, there is no better entertainment than what can be found between two covers - and even a bad book is sometimes better than no book at all!
As an avid reader, I probably spend at least several hours every month either at a local bookstore or shopping online, browsing for new titles to replace those that I've just consumed.

Frankly, I'd rather a newspaper cut back on fashion, food, or something else a little more frivolous rather than copping out on the book reviews that possibly could be used for educational purposes....i.e. high school and college students' optional reading, not to mention my own selfish purposes of finding new best sellers.
Give me books!! There's just something about the feel of the pages in your hands and the smell of the paper that the computer or other electronic media just cannot reproduce. And, how would I know what to read if it weren't for all the printed book reviews out there? I can't always get to an electronic doo-dad when the urge to read reviews or books strikes me, so, I say KEEP THE REVIEWS!!
I confess: I love the Web. I write for it, I surf it endlessly, I even read the newspapers online. But no books? You've got to be kidding! Nothing, not nothing, will ever replace the pleasure of a book. In fact, I had to move one of my bookcases; I had too many books on them and my floor was starting to make ominous creaking noises.
I cannot fathom my life without books. How to live without those pices that have taken me to the future and to the past? How to live without those that have tought me to live, to think, and even leared to love this very America of ours? I refuse to live without books.
I know for a fact that I read more books in a year than I watch movies, so I am biased like you about keeping book reviews. I always grab the reviews from various newspapers and magazines and look them up online if possible. I am more likely to reccommend someone a good book than I am a good movie unless they ask for it specifically.

And yes, my TBR pile is getting kind of out of hand. I am attempting to not buy a single book this summer in order to make some kind of dent in the pile, but I just can't resist myself when I walk into any major chain or idenpendently owned store.
I cannot stand being without a book! I can't watch TV withour a book. My Mom used to have to tell my sister and I when we were young to put the book down and do the dusting correctly. Now my husband tells me to put the book down! I could not imagine not having a book.
I love books passionately. I've loved to read all of my life. Most of what I know I learned from books. As a child, reading was my only escape from the family's insanity, the only time I felt safe. As an adult the same is true and books still make me believe that anything is possible. I guess I'd call it...hope.

Walking through a bookstore the other day, I thought of how I especially love the texture of the pages, the smell of ink...and decided I'm going to take an entire day to spend, by myself, just wandering through bookstores.
I've been an avid reader for more than 40 years. Going into 6th grade, our teacher asked us to read 10 books over the summer. I read every book on the 6th 7th and 8th grade shelf at the local library.

My wife thinks I collect clutter as I have stacks of books around my desk. Either they are waiting to be read, waiting to be reread or already in progress.

I find many books by reading reviews or hyperlinks that connect authors I already like to new authors or similar styles. I also like to take chances on authors I've never heard of. There's always someone new to discover.

HP may inspire kids to read but we'll need more to keep them reading. Without reviews or recommendations, where will they turn?
I read on average 40 or 50 books a year depending on my school/work schedule. I subscribe to numerous e-newsletters about upcoming books. I subscribe to Bookmarks Magazine and regularly buy two or three books out of it every time it comes out. I, too, have a TBR stack; or, I should say I have 7 or 8 TBR stacks. I always have a book with me no matter where I go; you never know if you are going to have to wait. Needless to say it disturbs me that the printed word doesn't get the attention it did when I was growing-up. I have three step-children that have never intentionally read a book and I fear that I've shown up too late in their lives to instill that love in them. This is the up and coming generation; and, whether we like it or not if it isn't digital they do not pay attention to it. I just encourage those that do read to keep it up; our voices are heard. We may be small and in the minority, but we still have a voice and those that write will always hear us.
i read many books a week and will continue to. I go to B&N at least weekly and it is always packed, so we are not alone in reading
I am a writer, and a victim of “those who do not read books.” The publishing business is suffering as a result. I personally know many people who haven’t read a book in years. “No time,” is all I ever hear. Most people think it takes too much time to read. The faster we are able to absorb information, the less time we have to exercise our minds by reading. Looks like a grim future for those of us who still relish the written word.
Society as a whole will suffer enormously if books continued to be tossed aside. As it is, we have a nation of idiots who only know how to speak in emoticons or in shorthand, as you would on a Blackberry or in text messaging. If the schools and the culture don't go back to encouraging reading, we are in for a world of trouble.
I play video games. I watch movies. I have a growing library of DVDs. I spend a lot of time on the Net.

And I read so many books that they're one of the major sources of clutter in our apartment. The bookshelves long ago ran out of space, and we long ago ran out of space to put more bookshelves. Books are stacked on chairs, on tables, on the floor. There's a shelf in the bathroom, aka the "reading room".

Best book read recently: Guns, Germs, and Steel. Currently reading: The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell. (talk about eclectic tastes)
Curl up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and...a laptop? I think not.
I will never give up books.
As an admitted bibliophile, I have several TBR stacks in my house. And that hardly stops me from buying more or going to the library. I haunt bookstores (used and new), and love the smell of books. My friends tease me about the size of my purses, but if it's not large enough to put a book in, there's no point!

Books are more than educators; they're time machines and windows to other worlds. They offer challenges (I read "War and Peace" at 14 (I'm 29 now) simply because it was there) that are just as satisfying sometimes as physical ones.

It's just comforting to know there are many of us out there.
Like many of you have said, a world without books would be tragic.
Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Stephen King and the list goes on. There is something private and intimate about a book. Books are something far more tangible than a computer screen. You can share it, pass it around, and scribble notes on the pages. I've got a set of books that are read and read almost year. I've got books that I've read once and thought "WOW" that's brilliant. And like most people I've got a set of books that are just so mind blowing that I I need duct tape wrapped about my head to comprehend it.

Something else about books verses digital media. My books don't get versus, they don't suffer hard drive failures, and I can read them when the power is out.

The book is dead; long live the book
I am a writer, and a victim of “those who do not read books.” The publishing business is suffering as a result. I personally know many people who haven’t read a book in years. “No time,” is all I ever hear. Most people think it takes too much time to read. The faster we are able to absorb information, the less time we have to exercise our minds by reading. Looks like a grim future for those of us who still relish the written word.
Few things make me happier than tearing into my "tbr" stack and then replenishing it again. (Not sure if it's been mentioned yet or not, but the Chicago Tribune is moving their book section out of the Sunday paper and into the Saturday paper....and probably one step closer to dropping it all together.)
I can not understand why anyone would NOT want to read books. They are the perfect way to escape from the world and enter another that can inspire you to dream.
I work full time and still manage to read 12-15 books a month. There's nothing better than curling up with a good book and a little soft music.
I am 34 years old, and I read all of the time! I prefer to read a book prior to the opening of the movie, however.

I have alerady pre-ordered my Harry Potter and I am actually counting down the days until I receive it!!!!
To know that there are other TBR stacks out there besides mine is comforting. I hope ebooks catch on, but never take the place of the real thing. You can't replace the feeling of turning the page, holding a book in your lap in bed, or simply the knowledge of your own personal library of favorites and yet-to -be favorites. Books are a security blanket which I will never let go of. I have loved them my entire life and can only hope this love of books and reading is continued and fostered in today's children as well. KS NY, NY
I love to read! My daughter loves to read! Books are a great way to relax, learn and just have fun. We read everything and anything. I hear about something and I find a book about it.
What do we need with someone that can read. We can get "smart" people from India,China and Russia for pennies on the dollar and We can get Not so smart people from "Latin America and Asia for even less than pennies on the dollar.
We can save more money by not even attempting to have an education system at all. After all the only people that should have education are the Nobility and the children of the Nobility.
Abraham Linclon once suggested that we breed a race of headless workers by the millions to satisfy the needs of the ruling class.
We think this is a good idea and should be implemented quickly.
Just imagine how high the stock market could go with 'headless' workers.
Books are wonderful..............to read, re-read, talk about with friends. How can we give up books. A book does not requiring re-charging or any sophisticated electronics. A book is there ready and waiting for us when we find time to open it and enjoy it.
My friends and family laugh at me at all the time for having 19 pages on my Amazon wish list. I am obsessed with books on everything from cooking, to travel, to adventure to politics. I am a lifelong reader, and will always be so. As they said, curiosity is the sign of a vigorous mind. We MUST encourage the habit of reading among our children. It is time for them to stop texting and start reading.
The internet is a powerful, wonderful thing. Research is made easier across the board and most of what you can get from picking up a book you can find on the net cheaper and simpler.

That said, there's something about flipping through pages and collecting your favorite author's works that the internet can't provide. Words are incredible and, in my opinion, the one thing binding together each and every generation. Reading the printed page is vital and will hopefully remain that way forever.
I am a firm believer that nothing can replace a book! There's something infintely more satisfying about the feel, the smell, the weight, and the look of a book, versus reading something on a screen. In my opinion, the value of actual, physical books is immeasurable. You can't bookmark, fold down the pages of, highlight, underline, or scribble on a computer screen! I'm also an avid reader, and I fully believe that what I've achieved this far is a direct result of being taught to read at a young age. The only thing I have a problem with is finding enough time to read as much as would like to!
I read books on a daily basis. So do the hundreds of people in the LiveJournal community 50bookchallenge. We're all challenging ourselves to read 50 books within a year. Many people have already surpassed that mark.

Look at the book reservations for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Because of book reviews, I have been intrigued to read books I would have otherwise never even given a second glance.
I sometimes enjoy reading pieces on the Internet, but more often than not I will print out the article or articles, take them outside (or to the couch) and read them. I need that experience.
People still read books. I think that people will always read books.

Readers used to get the bulk of their information from newspapers book editors who provided a necessary service. This is no longer the case with the rise of on-line retailers which often post their own editorials and allow readers to do the same. We can get the same information and the books are always in stock.

What's changing is where we browse and make our purchases. Today it's the newspaper book editors who are disappearing. Brick and mortar stores may be the next to go.
I read about 6 books a week- after I decided to unplug my TV in October- I have never been so relaxed
The reason there is so much unfounded discussion of events in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Iraq is directly related to the fact that few people -- including politicians -- have read the copious material available in books written by people who were and/or are active, were there when events took place, and who have tried to relay accurately this information to people at large.

The information requires its telling not in articles, but in book-length material.

Not taking time to find out which books to read (information generally only available in books reviews like those published in major newspapers) is a national tragedy because it has led to an unnecessary animosity between groups who are arguing with the facts, as seen by people on the ground.

Consequently, I believe that the country is in grave danger because the political process is corrupted by uninformed debaters and voters.

Books -- and book reviews -- are essential and irreplaceable if a democracy is to grow and flourish.
I read books. My aging parents read books. My brother, his wife and his children read books. I buy them, I borrow them from the library, my dad and I mail books to each other to "swap". I finished 10 books in the last 3 weeks. That's while working on a charity function, traveling for work and pleasure and running two businesses and a household. I can't imagine not having books in my life. Fiction, non-fiction, chick lit, mystery, biography, history, gardening, cooking, science fiction, business. Any good book will either transport you to another place or be a wealth of information and often just sheer fun. I'm always saddened when I hear someone say they haven't read a book since high school. The last 30 years would have been a much lonelier place if I had stopped reading after high school.
I'm 32 and I read every day. I'm in a book club that meets once a month and I"m in a writing group as well. I also work in the publishing field. If I didn't have books to read, I would lose so much joy for life. Books feed me in ways that nothing else can. They are an addictive spark that lights up my mind daily. I couldn't be happy without them.
I can't imagine a world in which people no longer read books. Nearly everyone that I know is an avid reader with a TBR stack of his/her own. I find that discussing a book with a friend helps us to connect and learn more about each other.
Books and reading matter. I attend UC Berkeley, and funding for many student publications has been greatly reduced unless the publication is "funny." Getting funding for The Berkeley Poetry Review has been challenging - one ASUC Senator said, "Poetry is no longer relevant" to the campus. Really? Literature is not relevant at the school that is the birthplace of the free-speech movement? In 1961, poet Robert Frost read his poem "The Gift Outright" at the inauguration of John Kennedy. Who can forget Maya Angelou reading her poem entitled "The Rock Cries Out To Us Today" at Clinton's 1993 inaugural? Reading matters, America! Reading matters.
The question to ask isn't "How many people read books anymore?" but rather "How many people bother to protest anymore?" There are plenty of book readers. But if the poor showing at the AJC protest is indicative of anything, it's that few bothered to voice their displeasure through peaceful protest. That's what a meager group of readers on the front stoop of the AJC REALLY signifies--the health of American book reading habits (or lack thereof) cannot be measured against or ascertained by counting protesters, that's the wrong barometer. Perhaps the majority of passionate readers were home reading. Or at work. Or taking care of the kids. A previous comment nailed it--how can we say that no one reads books, when Harry Potter #7 is about to blow the doors off bookstores?
Another avid reader here - I average 10 per month, about 1/3 of it fiction.

Like many of your readers, I once had walls of bookshelves full of books. Then I discovered Bookcrossing (www.bookcrossing.com). Now I have "set free" most of my collection, leaving individual volumes in public places in hopes that I can bring the joy of reading to someone else. If the finder is willing to "log" the find on the site, and release it into the "wild" once they've read it, your book can travel the world.

One of my releases travelled from the U.S. southland all the way to Belgium!
I am never without a book. I know lots of people that read. I have an informal book exchange going with three of the people in my office. It's nice, I have read many books I wouldn't even have considered if they weren't recommended and/or lent by these folks. We all use our local libraries, too, so sometimes the book has to be tracked down. It's a great way to connect.
I read books all the time - there really isn't much worth watching on TV anymore and I can find almost everything at my local library. I am also a walker..so when I am not reading a book, I am listening to one.
I read at least 4 books a week - that may seem a little extreme, but it’s where I find so much joy and it’s just for me. I read at night after my children go to bed, in waiting rooms and when I just have a moment. I read all genres and all lengths and I choose a lot of my books from reviews in magazines and newspapers. Maybe the readers of America should get their news from someone who values the written word, and not someone who values the almighty dollar.
I have grown to despise books. But this is because I work for a vanity publisher (google that term if unfamiliar). Our company has helped people self-publish over 30,000 titles and we are but one of many such companies. I would say 90% of these authors are convinced their book will be a bestseller. Or more still, that Hollywood will knock on their door with a movie offer. They honestly believe they have written something unique, something every person would be willing to drop $20 for. The retail world does not need another set of religious inspirational poems or another soldier's personal account of Vietnam, though they are worthy subjects to be pursued on a personal basis (i.e. a diary). They do not seem to realize the sheer volume of books available to the public. All the while as I listen to their publishing dreams, I envision my copy of Capote's "In Cold Blood" sitting half-read, covered in dust on my bedside table...

Now I feel only anxiety when I read. I can only imagine the ground I still have to cover as I slowly plug away at one classic, sentence by sentence. All I can see is the database of titles my little company provides. Books make me ache now.
From the time I could understand the alphabet, I've been addicted to books. Books are a privilege and a pleasure, a peek into someone else's brain and creativity. I, too, have my to-be-read stack, which often topples at the most inconvenient moments. If I want to escape, I don't turn to the ever-present internet - I turn to a solid book. I'll miss the book section of the AJC, and hope that they soon see the error of their ways!
The demise of books and serious reading has seemingly been imminent for decades, but one visit to the local Barnes and Noble makes it clear that reading is alive and well- thousands of books on hundreds of shelves, including a huge selection of literary fiction. Novels and serious non-fiction may have to compete with an increasing number of amusements and distractions, but there will always be a substantial disposable-income group which loves to read. And by the way, "serious' fiction readers have always been a small, grumpy group.
I do! I love books! Imagine the places you can go!
I love books so much that I became a librarian. And not just that- a children's librarian. I want to pass on great books to young readers. Many of my patrons come in to the library to check out a book they read about in the newspaper. We need book pages! I feel that without a proper editor, the page will be of poor quality.
Reading is my greatest joy. I read every day. Sometimes as much as a book a day. Every genre and none fiction as well. I can't imagine a newspaper eliminating such a position. Profit should not drive all things. Somethings, like great books (even just entertaining books) need review and promotion just because it draws attention to the medium. What happens to this art form (and the arts in general) if we fail to give it the respect and attention it deserves?
I may do a lot of my book shopping online, but browsing the Book Review page often leads me to books I might not have found on my own.

I still love my books. Nothing can ever compare to the tactile feel of a book in your hands, or the way it "turns on stories in your head".
Reading is the only time I can sit on a couch and feel like I accomplished something, and I have less guilt than I did when I droned on watching TV for hours on end.
Wow! Looks like I will be in the minority here. I write and read constantly as part of my job, but I am also an information junky, so I spend a lot of evenings reading online for "pleasure". However, it has been years since I've read a novel cover to cover.

Some gasp or look at me like I'm insane when I share this secret shame. But, I'm still not sure how this fact alone makes me intellectually inferior to someone who just read the latest Harry Potter. I enjoying reading for information, but when it comes to getting lost in an imaginary world, I prefer TV and movies over a novel. After reading and writing all day long, picking up a novel just feels more like work.

Because of the Internet, I think people are reading more than ever. If they aren't reading books, who cares? They're reading...they're educating themselves...I think this is a good thing.

"Don't you ever get tired of just reading about things?" - Violet Bicks asks George Bailey in the film It’s a Wonderful Life
I love BOOKS! I love reading all kinds of books: novels, plays, history, etc. You name it. I love having the book in my hands. I don't love computer screens, however.
I love reading books! Book reviews are important and I hope that newspapers continue to have them. It keeps you aware of what new books are out there.. there is indeed a pletheora. And readers like me will take note and hopefully get to reading them in the future!
I read!!! If I ever had to give up my books and pretend to be interested in some of the other form of mediocre media, I'd surely shrivel up and die. Reading is my lifeline. It centers me, challenges me, teaches me, and revitalizes my soul. Please tell me what television programming or movie can do all of these things?
Who needs books anymore? Yes, and this in turn is why America has falling literacy rates. It is due to the fact that morons believe that reading is less important than other matters. Look at how underfunded our schools and libraries are. The future of America needs books and needs to read. By the way, book reviews are used daily by librarians and teachers around the world. We have to determine what materials are good enough for our students, and these professional reviews help us do so. Books are not going anywhere. By the way, where did all of the information on the internet come from? Most of it came from books. Think about that!
Denver too no onger has a Sunday Book Section. Quite a loss and a sad comentary on the editorial judement of the publication.
My wife and I read every night before going to sleep. We don't have a TV in our bedroom for that reason. We also read to our son every night before bed. Books are important in our household -- so much so that we recently purchased a new bookcase to hold them all. A lot of our friends read books too. I don't believe they'll ever become antiquated, simply because we readers like having it in our hands.
Books will not go away. Laptops do not fare well at the beach with the sand and salt air. Nor do they provide enough battery time to read at one's leisure, for example on a long flight. And when was the last time someone curled up in bed with a "good laptop?"
I am sad that the AJ-C has decided to eliminate its book editor position, and that other newspapers are likely to do the same. But, over the years I have received far too much bad information from newspaper book editor/critics, especially regarding fiction, that I simply don't rely on book columns anymore. I -vastly- prefer advice from friends (all of whom read, by the way) and BookTV on C-SPAN. That hour or so with an author on BookTV is more than enough time to help me decide to buy a book. As for my friends, they rarely give me bad advice about a book. When they do, it makes for great conversation!
I've always loved to read and always will; it's going to be a huge part of my retirement, as well. Have you been to a Border's or Barnes and Noble lately?

What I really like though, is that my 15 year old daughter loves it more than me! Right now, she's reading "Othello" and "Silence of the Lambs" for school. She has always loved books. Her mom and I started reading to her before she was born and read to her every night, until of course, she was reading herself. I think because of this, she's an excellent student and has always read 2-3 grades above.

Another thing. TV is overated. Yes, I do watch some, but there's nothing like a quiet evening or early weekend morning to sit down and enjoy some
Stephen King, or whoever is you favorite.

Keep up the good reading!
I don't think cutting book reviews from newspapers is a reflection of people choosing other forms of media over books. I read books regularly.

I think it indicates a larger trend in the newspaper industry to cut costs because of a lack of print readership. I look at it this way - I read about 17 news outlets online a day that include newspapers, broadcast stations, magazines and blogs. Mainstream media outlets should consider the impact of the internet on business when complaining about circulation or readership. It's time for a new approach.
Sounds like the issue here is not about "who read books", but rather, "who read books AND read newspapers".

Most people who read book ... people here ... read cnn.com, NOT some Atlanta Journal.

Am I right, or am I right?
Let's see. Newspaper circulation is declining, they're loosing readers, so they cut a section of the paper specially for people who read, people who read something printed on paper, people who read something printed on paper that they paid for, people who read someting printed on paper that they paid for that excites and informs them. Does that seem the type of person to cut services to.
The college graduates I see applying for jobs at my company read at, perhaps, the fifth or sixth grade level. I doubt any has ever read a novel.

And, most of the customers I see in bookstores are women and rarely are they under 40. Lastly, do men of any age group read anymore?
"Sounds like the issue here is not about "who read books", but rather, "who read books AND read newspapers"."

Haha...
I think anonymous has a valid point. :)
Eliminating the Book Editor position doesn't mean people don't care about books. On the contrary, books matter just as much if not more than ever. Positions like the Book Editor should be gone...and if their opinions really truly mattered, they're feedback can be reborn in another form such as a blog.

The nature of the Web will help decided through Collective Intelligence who is worth listening to. Everybody in front of the Atlanta Journal just needs to encourage their book editor to start a blog, and have everybody subscribe to it.

The world has changed, and burying your head in the sand isn't going to change the fact that the Web has done more for book sales than any paper would ever do. Rather than living with a "New York Times best-seller list". We now can slice real-world opinions across geographic, age, gender, education, and other boundaries.
Hooray for the Atlanta book lovers! I cannot imagine a life without books. It is such a treat to see kids utilizing my local library, happily seeking out favorite books. I watch TV, use my computer but I read. I can hold the book in my hand, use a favorite bookmark. I have books in progress in several rooms of my apartment. I notice that the Chicago Tribune is moving it's wonderful book section from the highly read Sunday Edition to the Saturday paper. Maybe they've been talking to the Atlanta paper? A home without books is empty. TV journalists even write books, i.e. your own Anderson Cooper. I list and do a mini review of all books I read and give the list to friends. Like others here, I have a list of books to be read and it grows and grows every day. I always said that if I had to choose a place in which to die it would be in a library!
You’re not alone. Reading is my sole entertainment; no TV, very few movies out (lately none). However, I very seldom buy new books. I have a regular route of used bookstores and belong to several `friends of the library’ groups. It borders on the obsessive-compulsive, and I now have around 30 - 35 banker’s boxes full of books, not counting the TBR pile in my bedroom. But I had instead stuck to drugs, booze, and women, I’d be dead by now.
People are still reading books, the problem is that people aren't reading newspapers. The papers need to cut costs and having book reviewers on staff is considered an unnecessary expense. Online news sites, blogs, even cable are faster and more timely ways of delivering news. The accuracy, depth, background and analysis are often better in print media but most people are more concerned with getting news first and fast rather than correct and complete. Books are written and read for a completely different reason.
I think it boggles the mind that a newspaper, any newspaper, could reduce stimulation in reading. Desperation must be truly astronomic to convince them to literally shoot themselves in the foot that way.

What they see is: less revenue on the book review section.

What they do not see is: while only a reduced number of the newspaper subscribers/readers are book readers, a very large number of book readers are newspaper readers.

Logic would dictate they should stimulate people to become book readers as they are more likely to be regular newspaper readers. It is in the permanent interest of newspapers to stimulate reading. They already have tough enough competition from TV and the like, without attacking their very roots: the written word. It would make perfect economic sense to keep a book review section even if it were a complete financial loss if the newspapers realized that they depend entirely on people wanting to read information as opposed to viewing and hearing it.

You'd think they would be trying to find ways to increase stimulation in reading, wouldn't you?
What a ridiculous topic of discussion!!! As if image media could possibly replace or associate its output with the personal appreciation and creativity that readers bring and experience while discovering a fiction novel or a biography or what have you. How presumptuos and pretentious to even think that you are one of the few people who read books. That's just bad journalism with an obvious lack or fundamental research. Not an ideal place to state hidden agendas concerning the media, but rather insulting for readers worldwide!!
I depend heavily on book reviews for both professional reasons (I'm a school librarian) and for personal reading choices. Time is short and I need the help. I turn to on-line sources for the former but I enjoy reading book reviews in my Sunday newspaper. I like to see the ads from LOCAL bookstores (which I prefer to patronize)and to be able to carry the arts section of the newspaper with me wherever I go (camping, the beach, etc.) which I can't do with a computer. Computers require electricity. I don't want to listen to book reviews via podcasts. I want to see and hold that sheet of newspaper. I refuse to live a life that goes by so fast that I don't have time to enjoy that sort of simple pleasure! Support your local bookstores and newspapers!
I'm with you - I won a young reader of the year award from my local library at 11, and worked in a bookstore for 3 years. Now that I'm in a corporate environment, I put reminders on my calendar to let me know when books by my favorite authors are coming out, and I always buy them the first week. What I don't do, however, is read or subscribe to newspapers. At 25, I'm used to getting my news off websites, and don't think that newspapers provide any added value. As sad as it is, it seems like newspapers are a dying breed in the age of instant media.
I think you have the same addiction that I suffer from. I too have TBR and curretly on LibraryThing.com I have cataloged 3,222 books (I have more to do)More than anything in the world I'd love to have my own place that can hold all my books and I can have my pets. Maybe after I get my BS in Library Information Services I can get a job in the field...maybe

Cheryl
Reading is my favorite thing in the world to do, I think it's a travesty that books are becoming less and less popular and that Internet and newspapers are beginning to be considered an acceptable subsitute. The AJC protestors are right not to let literature die without a fight.
Maybe it's only in Atlanta that folks don't read as much. Believe that and I've a bridge in NY to sell you. Maybe it's only those 20-30 somethings hopped up on fast-paced, action-packed dramas filled with verbally lazy characters today that would make reading words and ideas in a book far too challenging, and God forbid, demand quiet reflective time from the reader. Maybe it's the sleaze factor on tv that titillates the lowest mind and finds that more appealing than the reach of a book that elevates.
All I know is that senior citizens I know read voraciously and can carry on a sane and intelligent conversation. I would hope college students could also, but I even have my doubts about many of them. I'm not stereotyping when I say all this, but the culture has been brought low and
like anything that brings down the culture, not reading will bring it down faster. Pick up a book! It will improve your vocabulary, and should you be interviewed on Jay Leno, perhaps, just perhaps you won't appear to be stupid as so many have been.
I spend most of my free reading books. I prefer them over the newspaper. I think the major issue here is newspapers are not as profitable as they used to be! I am 31, the target group the newspapers should be looking at. There is not one person my age, that I know, who reads the paper! We read books, yes. But the books give you excitement, travel, and all range of emotions. The newspapers today are dry and very dull. The only emotion you get is depression from the sad stories, that you've already seen on the morning news!! They need to leave the book reviews, AND spice up the rest of the droll articles! Then maybe people my age will turn to papers instead of The Colbert Report & John Stuart for their news!
As Thomas Jefferson once said, "I cannot live without books." And I say, "Ditto, Tom."
For people that don't like books, go shut yourself up. You're idiots. Books and magazines allow us to speak about subjects that are often less ephemeral than Sanjaya's hair. Stupid anti-book people. Stupid AJC.
I love to read novels. Most of the time I read novels on my PDA. I acutally find it easier on my eyes and I don't annoy my wife with a bedside lamp on. Plus, I always have it with me. You can store hundreds of novels on a PDA.
I can't imagine a life with books--the adventures, the mystery, the imagination!
I read books every day, and learn some fascinating, interesting bit of information every day.
I hope that these responses have shown that there are many more like me out there.
I feel that books fall into several categories. First there is the books that are pure entertainment, second: there are books that are pure information and lastly, there are books that are help me books that sell because we are so insecure. The first and third type of books will never be replaced because they are needed by so many of us. We need to be entertianed, ie: Haprry Potter's venue, and we need help books because we are never sure of what the best recepie is for chicken or how do we say thank you without sounding foolish or self agrandizing. Of course the informaation books can be put onto the internet because information is constantly changing. Especially regarding all the issues that plauge us nowadays.
I was forced to read books in school and I am grateful because I would not have otherwise read those books. However, I don't read books much anymore. I read the NY dailies and CNN is my home page so I get a wealth of information from these sources and their partners.

I do not watch much television but I do watch CNN, the Weather Channel, History Channel, A&E and other channels and shows that seem to have committed to disbursing information.

If I can watch a great show on bugs, the history of Manhattan or the history of the automobile in America, I won't cry about not having read that very same information.

I am happy that multimedia is a fact rather than a hope. Information is now more accessible (to more people).
Live Journal almost crashed at the begining of the year when so many people joined the 50 book challenge community where people pledge to read at least 50 books a year and there are many like myself who are on their 2nd 50 books. If people aren't reading it's news to many.
I cannot imagine not reading. I, too, have stacks tbr and I am always adding to them. Reading gives so much, it's a sorry state when papers don't seem to understand.
As a high school English teacher, I am usually dismayed and somewhat discouraged at the lack of interest by many students in reading. Many don't seem to realize that reading, critical reading is as much a necessary skill as operating an automobile. They don't realize how enriched their lives could be by delving in between the covers of many classics. I have perused the pages of the New York Times book review and have found it highly informative and engaging. I believe that part of the problem is that we live in a modern society that is very pressed for time. Reading a novel sometimes takes concentrated effort and a large block of time. Modern readers with busy schedules are not always able to devote the time needed to throughly absorb the content of a book.
I would just like to state with pride that reading books have and always will be one of the most enjoyable things to do in life.
I have always loved to read and have raised my children to be readers. Our home is full of books. Books that we have read and just cannot part with as well as books that we have yet to read. Nothing is more satisfying to me than my teenagers mentioning a book that I can pick out of my bookcase and hand to them. Whether it's Blume, Dahl, Dickens, Orwell or the biography of a famous person they are looking for, the kids know that there is a fifty/fifty chance they'll find it in their own home. I think reading for information and reading for pleasure is one of the best things we've done for them.
I really don't think that reading will ever be in the past tense. EVER!
Just look at all the times in history when people have tried to ban them and burn them.
The computer and the ipod and the widescreen TV will never take the place of book.
Books take you on adventures through jungles in far off places, in someones else's shoes, to space, to the North and South Poles, back in time and forward to the future.
Books will always be around.
I thought I was the only one with a pile of TBR books....
It's really a shame that book reviews are not deemed more important. Reviews are my biggest source of information in my eternal quest for new authors. I'm one of those (un)fortunate folk who has a TBR ROOM, not just a shelf. I read everywhere, and everything, even cereal packets and toothpaste tubes. I read while I knit, and I read while I walk, in the bathtub (my favorite place to read) and while I'm cooking. Only one of my children inherited this trait, the other one is a barbarian. How are children expected to learn to spell, if they don't read? As it is, the majority of our population would be totally lost without 'SpellCheck', and it's so obvious that this little add-on doesn't catch everything. I'm waiting for the day reference material and textbooks in schools will be confined to CD instead of the written page. It's heading that way.
Nice review.....I generally prefer to buy my favorite books at most discounted prices from many major stores at Couponalbum.com ...!!
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