Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Reading

I'm an avid reader, rarely without a book, so I sometimes forget that not everyone is such a fan of reading. However, since becoming an author, I'm constantly surprised by how many people say they only read fiction while on vacation.

I find myself wondering what they do with their time if they don't read, which is silly really because they presumably have their own hobbies of choice, or they watch television, play computer games or hang out on social media sites. There are so many alternatives to reading and only so much time in the day to do them. 

Vacations used to take people completely away from their usual routines and often their hobbies so it made sense that this might be the time when they would pick up a good book or two while relaxing on the beach, round the pool or at the lake, because there was not much else to do.

Summer has traditionally been a good time for book sales, especially of those books which fit into the 'beach-read' category. But with the advent of laptops, tablets and smart phones, and more and more places offering Wi-Fi, I have to wonder what effect this will have on summer reading. While e-readers may tempt dedicated readers to load up with more books than they might otherwise carry on vacation, tablets and smart phones may just as easily tempt those less obsessed readers away from books altogether.

What do you think? Would the ability to be able to be connected to your social networks, watch online news etc., reduce your reading time on vacation? Or do you like to disconnect from the electronic world while on vacation?


  1. You raise an interesting point. My husband has fallen in love with the Google Currents app. He's constantly sending me news stories from it (which is a bonus, because I've tweeted several and expended zero energy to find them). But, it also means he's reading fewer novels.

    He used to spend his commute home reading books on his ereader. Now, he spends it perusing current news. Yes, he's up on all the latest news. Good for him, but bad for the authors he was reading (except for me. He still makes time to read me).

    Even those who have Kindle or Nook apps on their phone. While they can read anytime with it, they may choose to use another of their multitude of apps.

  2. That's a very valid point. It does make you wonder how it will impact book sales in the long run. Just think of all those commuters you used to see sitting reading books. Nowadays it's certainly does not seem so many. Some articles claimed that reading might have suddenly become 'cool', especially among the younger generation, because of the new technology, which should have a positive effect on sales, but how long will those new converts last once they get their hands on the non-dedicated e-readers before they switch to what they consider to be more attractive forms of entertainment - after all, have a pair of earplugs and you could watch the latest episode of your favorite show on the commute home.

    I have to say, I still don't understand how people can enjoy reading a book on a phone:)

  3. I used to load up on books when I had summers off from the classroom, but now that I'm freelancing, I'm trying to be more even-handed out my reading pace over the course of the year. Yet, since I've now had an iPhone for two years, I really do blame it for being a distraction that cuts into my reading time!

  4. When I travel into Manhattan by train I can't help noticing the number of people who spend the time (above ground at least) texting etc on their phones - can't help thinking many would previously have been reading instead.
    I have an old basic cell phone which is rarely switched on so I don't have to deal with that kind of distraction - and I have to say, I like it like that!