Have you ever heard of a book, been vaguely interested, but never bothered picking it up? Happens to me all the time. One specific book comes to mind, by Timothy Ferriss, called the The 4-Hour Work Week. It was published in 2007, rose to #1 on the New York Times Best-Seller list and is available in over 35 countries. I avoided reading it for eight years because of two excuses: 1) I scoffed at the absurdity of the title, and 2) I didn’t have easy access to the book. Sure, I was curious and could have gone to the library to check it out or afforded $10 for my own copy, but vague interest isn’t enough to inspire even that low-level of pursuit for me.
So now here I am writing about the book, what happened? I still think the title is absurd. But the other important factor changed, and that’s what I’m really writing about. One week ago my best friend from school called me and casually mentioned a (free) app he discovered: OverDrive. Essentially what the app allows you to do is enter your library card number and PIN from any library in the whole-wide-world, thus allowing easy access to download any ebook or audiobook from the given library, anywhere in the whole-wide-world. Amazing. I highly recommend the app and now even the book, which I instantaneously downloaded and started listening to on my way to work last week. I don’t think the book needs any further publicity, but the app absolutely does.
Libraries and book stores as we know them are rapidly changing. Borders closing in 2011 marked a significant turning point. People said it was a turning down point. They said, “Kids don’t read anymore these days”. But I rather suggest it’s merely a natural evolution of medium. From stone tablets to scrolls, from feather pens to keyboards, and from mass-printed books now to e-books, this evolution is nothing new and nothing to worry about in the long-term. When writers started switching from stone tablets to papyrus I’m sure there was a lull in readership during that time of transition too because people had to familiarize with new distributers just like they are adjusting today. As a 22 year old millennial I considered myself proficiently tech savvy, especially considering I’d recently published an e-book of my own. But then my world was turned upside down by this wonderful app called OverDrive I’d been oblivious to. As readers, we’re undoubtedly in a major transition period. But with each person who becomes familiar with todays new mediums, we grow poised for a major reading upswing. Polish your reading glasses, wipe down your iPad screen. The books are coming back.
Joe Sitzwohl currently works as a Business Analyst in New York City for a tech company called SinglePlatform. Prior to graduating in May 2015 from Ohio State University with his BSBA in Marketing and a minor in Design, he self-published his college memoir, Surrounding Saturdays, as an e-book. To contact Joe email [email protected].