The Persistence of Paper

Books aren’t going away yet.

That’s a good thing.

But don’t think that because many people in their 20s still read books in the traditional format, that you can forget about going digital. You can’t.

According to a Pew Research Study, 83 percent of Americans aged 16 to 29 read a book last year, and 60 percent of Americans under 30 went to a library.

But the Pew study also says that many younger readers are getting information from their mobile devices — smart phones, rather than tablets. This is interesting. Smart phones are a bigger player in the consumption of information than are tablets.

And while some 100 million iPads have been sold, according to Apple, compared to 13 million Kindles and other devices such as Nook, people are turning to their smart phones for news, info, books.

What does that mean for you?

Well, if you’re creating a platform for your message, and hoping to build an audience for a book that will further your business, you need to think in terms of how you want to disseminate that message. Think RSS feeds, Twitter posts, short yet punchy tidbits of information that can be consumed on the go. And social media is accessed more through smart phones than by folks sitting at their computers, even if it seems that everyone at work logs onto Facebook several times a day. More people are out and about posting than tied to their offices doing the same.

You should keep your blogs to one point. I know that there are some authors who feel that they need to express a lot in a blog, feeling that the bog should be like an article making several points, and running to 1,000 words. Try to avoid this, even if you are under the impression that what you’re trying to say is too complicated to be broken down into 300- to 350-word posts. It isn’t. People remember better if you keep it short, to the point and constant, so that your message builds up gradually, rather than your trying to overwhelm a reader with information all at once.

Trust the delivery system — save your longer arguments for the actual books. And send your short, pointed and informative messages in a way that will have an impact through the smart phone.

Consider your message like the more thoughtful equivalent of a text, minus the LOLs and emoticons.

Bob Hughes
Author: Bob Hughes
Robert J. Hughes ("Bob") was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for over a decade, specializing in culture reporting. He was the paper's theater reporter, wrote on publishing, the art and auction markets, television, music, film and philanthropy, and reviewed books.
  • Anonymous

    Good stuff. I’ll admit I’m a huge fan of short, condensed and to the point info when searching online. Too much text and I bail. Thanks for sharing!