India has the unique distinction of being one of the youngest populations in the world. This population needs to acquire knowledge and skills to become a productive member of the society. Availability of books and more importantly the reading of books 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 meant that reading a book today requires a bit of an effort.
Technology though widely acknowledged as a major distraction to reading can be a strong pillar to support reading. Technology can be best used to gather and interpret data in order to better 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 perfectly meet demands from all sections and levels of readers.
However, the most important thing that can make or break a reading habit is availability of good quality contents. A good book is one that gives the reader a certain pleasure out of reading the book, it has the capability to transport the reader to a whole new world and induce certain feelings in them that they will fondly remember for a long time. A physical book has the advantage of stimulating both the mind and the body at the same time which can have an indelible impression on the readers, enough to sustain a lifetime interest in reading.
And in drawing the interest of young and new readers, publishers and publishing houses have a stellar role to play. In the age of the World Wide Web and expanding reach of the internet, anyone and everyone can publish his or her book. Technology has empowered people to not only write but also publish their thoughts, translations and original works instantly. As a result, today 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 and deliver high quality contents to them.
Established publishing houses have over time became a huge repository of knowledge and facts. They have also accumulated significant experience and expertise in quality checks and editing to maintain high standards and quality of their publications. The onus therefore is on the publishers to not only produce good quality books, but to also provide well-researched and perfectly curated content over the World Wide Web too.
Reading as a hobby and as a part of the education system has endured generations, survived civilizations and will remain an integral part of humanity in the times to come. The medium and popularity of reading however may evolve with the development of the times. And it is important that each generation has access to high quality contents so that the love of reading sustains.
By Ms Monica Malhotra Kandhari, MD, MBD group