Why write a book today?

There are plenty of topics of significant complexity, that someone needs more that a few seconds of talk time to get their points across. That all their beliefs, arguments, and data isn’t well-suited for a back-and-forth conversation because when taken and discussed individually, it’s hard to get the full-effect.

I recently heard that 58% of adults in the US never read another book in their lives after high school. Studies seem to show that reading overall is on the decline. I like to think about issues like this in several different ways, walking through the history of literacy, to peak book reading, to today.

Here are some factors that affect literary consumption:

  • Literacy rate
  • Books published and accessibility to them
  • Alternate forms of media available

There was a point in history where literacy was low. If a person can’t read, they won’t consume books.

Before automobiles it was much harder to distribute goods. When something new was released, it didn’t instantly become available in every store. If the amount of newly published books was less than the demand for them, then that was limiting the amount of books read. Due to stores like Barnes and Noble having more books than you could read in a lifetime, we know that at some point in history supply exceeded demand and allowed peak consumption to be reached.

Finally, with the rise of other forms of media like radio, television, internet, newspaper, podcasts, and video, the way that people consume their information has shifted. Obviously, when books were the only choice, they had more demand to themselves, now there are many alternatives.

Today, what is a book for?

Let’s see what each form lacks:

  • Radio and podcasts lack visuals.
  • Newspapers lack depth.
  • Television and video are expensive to produce.

If you have something important to share that requires a visual element, with depth of content that is cheap to produce, a book is the media you’re looking for.