The Faster Millennials Breed, the Less the Book Authors Eat…


There is an interesting paradox: in the new millennium, again, like in good old days, reading has become a privilege of a few. Centuries ago, the main obstacle to reading was mass illiteracy, so authors knew that their writing could only be appreciated by a thin social group of well educated and relatively wealthy. Today, when everyone can be a potential reader, the authors are facing a problem again: the short era of mass, unlimited reading is over: the millennial generation lacks time. By a trick of fate, the only shortcoming of reading – the fact that it is quite time-consuming – seems to negate all of its precious powers, because in our crazy world time has become the most valuable asset of all.

A good novel takes days (sometimes weeks) to read, while a good movie is visual and fast: a movie “retells” you the longest book in as little as an hour or two, so books can no longer compete with such means of information transfer as television, movies, computer games, or the Internet, which altogether have turned the process of reading into nothing more than a careless time killer. With all the technologies available today, I am surprised that books still remain in vogue at all.

All in all, the authors of new books have to face it: the niche is rapidly thinning. Within a decade or so, reading is going to turn into a special treat, or hobby, appreciated only by the extravagant few, like listening to vinyl records or taking pictures on a film camera.

What does it mean to authors then? I guess two thirds of all authors will be kicked out of business in the nearest few years, while the quality standards for writing will soar up higher and higher.

An opponent might suggest that reading is good for our mind, it develops emotions and feeds our soul, it is undeniably healthier than anything else the technologies can offer… Yes, of course, this is true. Still, the tendency is quite clear: in the 21-st century, reading has become an unaffordable luxury, and the process is only beginning to develop.

With all this in mind, every new author should be realistic and not put all eggs in one basket: making a living by just writing books is hardly a good idea today. Even the most captivating novel may fail to attract the desired number of readers, simply because of the fact: most of them realize that they will never have time to read it.

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