India has the unique distinction of being one of the youngest populations in the world. They need to acquire knowledge and skills to become a productive member of the society. Availability of books and, more importantly, reading them is an important component of knowledge sharing and consumption. Ideally, a young starting age in reading is desirable, but the advent of technology and the accompanying disruptions mean that reading today requires a bit of an effort.
Technology, though acknowledged as a major distraction to reading, can be a pillar to support reading. Technology can be best used to gather and interpret data to understand what products are working best for which section of readers. From identifying best sellers to suggesting an ideal book based on reading ability and comprehension level, technology can help not only readers but also publishers to fine-tune their products to meet demands from all sections and levels of readers.
The most important thing that can make or break a reading habit is availability of good quality content. A good book is the one that gives the reader a certain pleasure, it has the capability to transport the reader to a new world and induce certain feelings that they will fondly remember for a long time. A physical book has the advantage of stimulating both the mind and the body. This can have an indelible impression on the readers, enough to sustain a lifetime interest in reading.
In drawing the interest of new readers, publishers have a role to play. In the age of the World Wide Web, anyone and everyone can publish own book. Technology has empowered people to not only write but also publish their thoughts, translations and original works instantly. As a result, the online world is deluged with websites and blogs carrying self-published contents of all hues and quality. Considering that a lot of reading happens online, it is imperative that publishers embrace digital revolution to be where the readers are.
Established publishing houses have became a huge repository of knowledge and facts. The onus, thus, is on them to not only produce good quality books, but to also provide well-researched and perfectly curated content over the internet too.
Reading as a hobby and as a part of the education system has endured generations, survived civilisations and will remain an integral part of humanity in the times to come. The medium and popularity of reading, however, may evolve with time. It is important that each generation has access to high quality content so that the love of reading sustains.
By- Monica Malhotra Kandhari. The author is MD, MBD Group