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How do we get more people to read?

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic Feb 18, 2022
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Distribution
Problem: A small percentage of the global population reads.
The goal
Entice more people to read so that they can educate themselves, solve their problems and find entertainment outside of streaming services and social media.
Findings
I've noticed that the most successful and wealthiest people are readers. Leaders are readers. A direct correlation between avid reading and professional success exists. Readers tend to possess more knowledge than non-readers, so they usually find solutions easier.
India has the biggest reader base, not only by the number of readers but also by the most hours spent reading. I believe that's one of the reasons that many Indians hold high positions at the biggest companies in the world.
School doesn't prepare us for the real world, and it definitely doesn't teach us money management. We have to find that information in books.
I read 1-2 books every week, and I'm adjusting my schedule so that I can do three weekly books.
Why should you care?
Develop the habit of reading so that you can pass it on to your children. You'll have more knowledge about the solutions you seek by reading, and you'll give your children a head start.
Your family and peers will be impressed with how you add value to conversations and the depth of your knowledge on certain topics. People are attracted to those with great knowledge.
Call to action
I'd love to know how you would make a good case to people who don't enjoy reading to take up the hobby. Better yet, I challenge you to request from everyone in your family to spend at least half an hour reading every day.
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Creative contributions

Create more opportunities where people don't have their phones while they are bored

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Feb 18, 2022
Which circumstances make it possible to temporarily take people's phones from them?
  • being in prison
  • you have to hand over your phone when entering the court of law (at least in my country)
  • some museums, exhibitions, theaters could make it forbidden to use your phone
  • what else?
Although, except for prison, people are not bored while in the above-listed circumstances. We should create circumstances where people are both bored and without a phone. Then make some amazing books available. Checking them out to kill some time could lead to people getting drawn into the books and later seeking them out to finish reading them.
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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković7 months ago
We could hardwire the internet in the house to go out for an hour or two every day.
There are still electronics that you could use like video games, but for a lot of people that would sway them towards books.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic7 months ago
I agree with you about phones being a distraction. But I use my phone to read Kindle when I'm travelling. I think it's also about the habit. If you've conditioned yourself to check social media when bored, that's the first thing you'll do. Reading a book—not so much. I thought about a social media platform specifically designed for readers. Authors would post exclusive content such as reading chapters of their book, movie trailers adapted from their books and audiobooks. It would be exclusively for readers, authors and everything book related.
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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi7 months ago
Goran Radanovic Goodreads is such a platform. However, it lacks some of what you have suggested. So, maybe an updated version with these features incorporated.
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Illustrations

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Feb 18, 2022
For me, as a kid, illustrations played a big role in getting me to read a lot.
Not even necessarily an illustration every page, yet visual representations of whatever you are reading every now and then does help. Especially for kids.
Even more so now when books have to compete with visual mediums like YouTube, video games, and TV.
Visual art should be treated as some sort of an award you get when you keep up with the book. It's easy to implement it for novels, which can be great gateways to non-fiction. Yet it can be done with non-fiction books too, as they often use real-life examples to illustrate their points. As of now, illustrations and drawings, are mostly reserved for children's books aimed at the youngest, or for comic books or graphic novels. So the industry should shift to having more illustrations to break up the sea of text. It might even improve information absorption as a frame of reference, a powerful visual to memorise the gist of the chapter for.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic7 months ago
You definitely have a point about illustrations. I noticed that the young generation prefer visuals and audio. That's why audiobook sales have skyrocketed. I saw with my podcast, which is a narrator reading short stories, that the highest listenership is from age 18-22. As you say, novels and non-fiction books with photos/images could make it more interesting for the younger generation.
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Catfishing to create an opening

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Contrived _voice
Contrived _voice Feb 19, 2022
I personally got catfished into reading philosophy.
The hook
In late 2017 I was recommended an animated show called Bungou Stray Dogs, written by Kafka Asagiri. Funny how the author himself is named after Franz Kafka, a german philosopher whose works are heavy with existentialism.
In his production Asagiri uses 19th-century philosophers as characters in a story. The characters display behaviors close to those described in the books they wrote. For example Osamu Dazai who is a detective in this production constantly questions the purpose of living and tries to end his own life mirroring his thoughts in the book No longer Human. It is important to note that the actual Osamu Dazai did in fact end his own life. The production does the same thing with other renowned authors like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Doppo Kunikida and Atsushi Nakajima. The show created so much interest that for about 6 months after the release of the movie, most book shops were entirely sold out of The books ,No longer human by Osamu Dazai and Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I know several people who went the extra mile and shipped them from Japan or the US
Take away
Philosophy is a broad subject matter with so many schools of thought that it is impossible to know where to start. The Show made these characters relatable and interesting as well as simplified thier thoughts in a way that made it sort of a guide. It created an opening. Once you got in it was easier to keep on reading , moving from one school of thought to another.
Conclusion
All you have to do to get people interested in reading is to go get them from wherever they are, make bridges from content they enjoy to books. Some people read the harry potter series because of the movies. book sales actually rise whenever a new harry potter movie comes out.
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Provide Incentives for Reading

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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi Feb 22, 2022
I think we can get more people to read if we provide incentives for them. There are tons of books out there and while they will enlighten and provide us with knowledge, their impact on our lives are not always instant. Asides that, some of them won't have any impact at all as the readers won't spare the time to implement the book's teachings. Hence, many people see reading as something to do merely for leisure. However, by providing incentives to read, we can address the short-term, instant impact and probably hasten the long-term impact as well.
What do these incentives look like?
A publisher-sponsored contest:
  • Where readers write essays after they finish a book and the best essays win a prize, which can be cash or an opportunity to meet an important personality. The contest should be recurring, whether on an annual or biennial basis. For example, I'm currently reading a book titled "Good Economics for Hard Times" by a Nobel prize winning couple. While the book provides a natural incentive in that I will broaden my knowledge on global economics, I daresay I would take it more seriously if I could win a $1000 or an opportunity to meet the authors or a director at the International Monetary Fund, for instance.
  • Where readers present verifiable evidence for how they've implemented the book's teachings to win a prize like the ones I stated above.
  • In the case of fiction, readers can write an insightful essay on the different themes that run through a book. They can support, oppose, or further the author's stance. And the best essay wins a prize, too.
Providing an incentive, especially in the way I've suggested, will do more than encourage more people to read; it will ensure peple think critically about what they've read and, as a result, internalize them. That way, authors can be certain they've provided value for their readers.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic7 months ago
I agree with you about incentives. They can lure in readers. Getting readers to write an essay about the book requires a lot of effort and some may not enjoy writing. There is no guarantee that they will win, so the risk of doing that task and getting nothing is high.
I'd recommend something like a $2 discount voucher in the book on the author's next ebook or $3 on the paperback. Another incentive I think would be highly beneficial is discount vouchers in books adapted into movies. Readers who buy the book get a discount voucher for the movie.
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Turning towards viral marketing

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Apr 18, 2022
Another issue that books have is that they are not viral in the age of virality. You don't get a lot of book clips or photos sent to you from your friends, as you do for TVs, movies, or podcasts. So maybe making a more aggressive audio campaign where you would get 30-second to minute bits of books on YouTube in audiobook form, spoken word that is. All for them to be shared and possibly picked up by the algorithm. A memorable paragraph that works on its own but doesn't spoil the story for fiction books could certainly go viral if it has humour or great language to it.
With the book cover on at least half of the screen, and the rest of the screen used for an appropriate, attention-grabbing B-roll footage. Links for purchase in the video description area.
A lot of Reddit content is now getting published on YouTube shorts after being pulled through a text to speech app and they are going viral. Having a voice actor reading out these paragraphs, taken from the audiobooks if they are available already, or made specifically for marketing purposes, would stand out from the still robotic text to speech voices. For self-published authors without backings of huge publishing houses, one could make an even a Kindle extension that would automatically speech to text a highlighted paragraph and attach the book’s cover to it. Export the video and have it ready for YouTube quickly.
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Add VR/AR elements to attract youngsters

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola May 05, 2022
I described the idea as a separate idea here.
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Passive-aggressive long bookmarks that always stick out

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Aug 10, 2022
Have bookmarks that are longer than the book and at the top of it have some passive-aggressive funny message that would incentivize the book owner to read. As it would stick out from the book on the shelf.
Something like "Geez, finally you remembered you're a reader" or "Don't let a tree die for nothing", or "your friend bought you this book in the freezing rain".
I recently put a similar note in a book I gifted someone who had a tough time reading this non-fiction book and they finally read it entirely. Maybe it helped.
There are some passive-aggressive bookmarks online, yet they are not popular and they are not longer as I propose, with the text on the part sticking out.
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Bookshelf alarms turned off by movement/weight sensors

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Aug 10, 2022
Have bookshelves with a built-in alarm and weight or movement sensor that goes off five minutes after your designed reading time unless you pick up a book from it.
You pick your designated reading time on the small hidden screen.
Obviously, you can shut it off just by moving a book and returning it, but it would be an extra incentive that's pretty loud to ignore. And you already have the book in your hand.
Also, it doesn't need to be a sensor in the actual bookshelf, but rather an alarm clock with a short-range movement sensor that is placed in front of the bookshelf or the library.
The alarm sound should be something funny, or embarrassing, like the messages in the bookmark idea I posted.
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Versatility vs persistence

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Povilas S
Povilas S Feb 18, 2022
I'm glad you raised this question because I'm one of those people who don't enjoy reading. The only place I read something on is the internet. But even here I can't keep up with the same text for long (e.g. the same Wikipedia article) I tend to jump between topics back and forth, so I guess that's why the internet works for me because it's so easy to switch to entirely different things here. It's not like that with books or any printed material.
Trying to read the same text for long is a hard job for me, so unless the book is super interesting (which is almost never the case for me), naturally, I avoid it. Just the way printed material is made makes it hard to change topics swiftly, you have to turn the pages of the book, search for different chapters, etc., not to mention shifting between different books. It's simply this convenience for versatility of reading on the net/computer that makes reading more enjoyable.
So I'm not even sure if this inability to maintain consistency when reading is a bad thing or if means to enable ease for versatility are actually good, because then at least I can be interested and read something bit by bit rather than nothing at all:)
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Connect readers for a more communal experience

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Apr 18, 2022
One of the issues with reading books is that it's rarely something you get to speak about with other people. It's not as communal as watching TV, movies or podcasts because more people do those things as they are more passive, easier. It's hard to get someone to read the same thing you read even if they are also an avid reader.
What if every book had a QR code at the end of it that connects you to a person that also read the book via an app and you could have a text chat, call, or even a video call with them.
You could filter for people in your country, people in your city, age, maybe even sex, in case you don't want to get spammed with messages by people seeking "romance."
Talking about the book with another person incentivizes not only buying books, but actually reading them, and being careful too. Because you will have to speak on it. We could implement a rating as to how good of a conversationalist the person you were conected to was.
Or you could go the other way and even implement the idea within a dating app. That way reading would have a significant incentive and first dates and first text openings would be easier as you would have a topic to start from or revert too.
I know book clubs exist, but this would be a more private, customizable, standalone, modern, digital way of approaching it.
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Make your book-reading drought public

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković Apr 20, 2022
For those people who want to read more but are not able to develop the habit, a bit of negative reinforcement might do the trick.
Set up an app or an extension (Bookeeper let's name it) that overlays a timer showing the last time you read a book. Firstly on your desktop and phone's top corners, for internal motivation. From time to time, every week or so, it would pop up in a large frame across your screen, while you're using it, to gather your attention: "2 weeks since you read a book!"
Then it would post embarrassing, maybe humorous mocking messages on your social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.
Something jokingly "It has been two months since Goran has last read a book. Maybe crayons and colouring are more his thing?" - Bookeeper App.
Or "It has been six months since Miloš last read a book, soon he'll start believing in astrology." - Bookeeper App.
The way it would check whether you read the book is by setting up quizes with six questions about the book you bought, ideally six answer options, and if you read the book you'll know the answers to it.
Or it can be a peer to peer verification, as I mentioned in my contribution here with the QR code. The two would check each other, although I think the quiz option is better as it takes the human good will towards the peer out of it. Or bad will.
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Get creative with publishing - create bedtime storybooks that glow in the dark

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Jun 01, 2022
Storybooks that glow in the dark and present bedtime stories. The advantages are that two stories can be accommodated in one book - double utilization of the pages. One of the stories could be written using regular ink that can be read using the daytime (in light). The second story could be written using glowing inks. During the day, the book tells one story. In the dark, it tells another. A fun way to read, plus save on paper. Storybooks could utilize the glowing idea to create mystery stories. The clues may be invisible in light and visible only under UV light. This facilitates reading at night without the use of a screen (Kindle, phone, etc.). Kids could read wherever - under the sheets, in the treehouse at night, in the dark. They spend less time on screen, at least to read.
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