22
August , 2017
Tuesday

VidYouth

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Oxford Book Store - What better place to hangout at? Credit: Insanity Personified

It’s a known fact that a book is a man’s best companion. No matter how many times it’s been read and re-read, it has always got something new to offer to the readers. In this age of internet, globalization and usage of electronic media, it’s saddening to see the novelty of reading books wearing away. A recent survey conducted by a popular TV News channel suggests that the times have changed so fast that, the percentage of people, who take time off to read a good book in spite of their busy schedules dropped alarmingly from 47% to a mere 28% during the years 2005-2009. This is just a mere indication of how the electronic media has taken over the world by storm and making the people feel that reading books has become old and obsolete.

Shailesh, a student from CVR College says that he doesn’t read any novels or books in front of his friends as they tend to tease him, for reasons unknown to him. In fact, he feels that book readers are so discouraged that many of his friends actually hide the books they have been reading when their friends pay a visit to them. The most common word that comes to one’s mind to attribute to this habit of not reading books is ‘laziness’. On the contrary, it’s not ‘laziness’, which causes a lack of interest in reading books. The people, who shy away from the books are generally the ones, who surf the net for hours together and finish off their projects with gusto and patience hard to get. So, clearly it’s prudent enough to say that it’s not laziness that is the cause of the ‘book-shirking’ phenomenon.

A Treasure house - The best companions ever! Credit: Insanity Personified

A Treasure house - The best companions ever! Credit: Insanity Personified

Then what causes the people, more particularly the youth to treat ‘book reading’ with disdain? “It’s quite uncool to read a book dude”, is the reply from Vipul, a student from SNIST. Well, this certainly explains the attitude from students, who do not want to be branded ‘uncool’ by any of their friends at any cost. Anyone reading a book is automatically considered/branded as a nerd by their fellow students and once this name gets stuck to any person, they don’t want to get caught reading a book at any cost. “It’s OK to read text books, newspapers and surf the net for information regarding studies, but it’s not OK to read books”, protests Aishwarya (name changed), a 2nd year B.Tech student. She says that she has gone a step further and formed a ‘Book Club’ at her college and is proud to point out that their club has 67 members at present and extended study sessions up to 4 hours are conducted during weekends at their meeting place. Says Aishwarya, “People, who used to tease me for burying myself into books everywhere I go, have become members of the ‘Reading Club’”. She says that this change in the minds was caused by a strong urge from the college authorities to read books and a seminar conducted by one of the most eminent authors of India.

A reason for this loss of interest over book reading is ‘electronic media’. “It’s very very frustrating and sad to see that the books are already available on the internet one day prior to their release”, mourns Ashutosh, a commerce student. His sentiments are shared by a large number of avid book readers all over the country as it has become more of a trouble to find books available on the internet even before they make an appearance in the bookstalls. Websites such as ebay, esnips, freebooks.com etc are proving to be a hindrance to people as the soft copies of the books are available on the internet and anyone can download them within seconds, thus robbing themselves of the sheer pleasure that can be derived while reading a good book.

Bookshops like ‘Crossword’, ‘Odyssey’,'Book World’ etc, are pretty cool places to spend with books. The presence of almost unlimited books by authors all over the world and comfortable, luxurious couches to sit on and relax while reading books, make them a hotspot among the ‘book loving’ youth. The most popular among these bookshops is ‘Crossword’ located in Punjagutta. Located in the premises of the ‘City Central’ mall, this place attracts at least 400-500 people per day. Says the manager of ‘Crossword’, Punjagutta, “The number of people visiting the place goes up during weekends, where many of the school going children too flock this place and there’s a mad rush whenever a popular book is going to be released”. However, the attendance of the bookshops too has been placed at the mercy of the electronic media.

Habits for life - Engrossed in a book. Credit: Insanity Personified

Habits for life - Engrossed in a book. Credit: Insanity Personified

Many students feel it’s a waste of time to visit a bookshop and to search for a particular book among rows of books, while the very book can be downloaded from the internet within seconds. Adding to that, many of the students trade e-books from each other in pen-drives and DVDs. They feel that they’re saving money by downloading books from the internet. But Ashutosh, a 4th year student from VGNIT college feels that they are simply getting deprived of the thrill and pleasure a book has to offer. He also says that the true feeling of reading a book can be achieved only when it’s held in our hands and by turning its pages and that the e-book can only replicate the contents of a book but it can’t replicate the sheer happiness and joy one can get by holding a book in one’s own hands. Any book is available on the internet and it’s also extremely infuriating to note that the print, cover and the styling of the e-book is exactly the same as the original, hard-bound book, making this all the more appealing to the students to download books from the net rather than spending money on it.

However, e-books are quite a big hit abroad among the readers. A staggering 63% of the readers in other countries prefer buying e-books to purchasing a hard copy as they are easily transferrable and hardly take up any additional space. Many of the big wigs of the book industry like Amazon’s kindle make big bucks by selling authenticated e-books. The prices may vary a little bit with regard to the hard bound edition, but it’s become quite popular among the readers over there.

Yes, it’s true that the habit of book reading among the youth has decreased by a substantial amount. In fact many of the students argue that they hardly find time to read their text books, let alone novels and stuff. An awareness in book reading has to be taken up by the colleges and schools very seriously and they should make it a point to include ‘book reading’ clubs and sessions in their respective institutions. For B.Tech students, book reading becomes all the more important, as books not only provide us with extensive grammar and vocabulary skills but also give us an ardent sense of understanding, reason and logic which forms the crux of competitive exams like GRE, TOEFL and many other exams. This sort of information surely ought to act as a booster for students to take up reading very seriously.

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