By Mark W. Danielson
Pick any restaurant and you will notice that nearly everyone there has a beverage of some kind. This is not unusual, of course, but soda and coffee at most dine-in restaurants ranges between $2.50 and $3.00. Nearby, drive-through coffee shops are packed with caffeine hoarders paying four bucks on up for their brew. Inside, many clients prefer to coddle their electronic devices than speak to the person sitting across from them. And thus is the irony of where our society has gone.
As someone who frequently dines alone while away from home, such observations often lead to conclusions. Although I could certainly dwell on how electronic social media sites now substitute for social interaction, the topic I’m addressing today is about the financial choices people make – specifically how they prefer drinking words over reading them. You see, for less than the cost of a beverage, these same people who sip their drinks, tuned into their smart phones and iPads, could be reading a book on those same devices. Interesting, no?
With so many e-books available for between one and three dollars, why haven’t e-book sales tripled since those new Christmas e-readers were opened? Smashwords.com offers an expansive array of inexpensive books, so for a minimal investment, why not check out authors you haven’t read? Of course, Amazon and Barnes and Noble also have plenty of e-books for three bucks or less.
Considering how dine-in restaurants are thriving, cost cannot be the reason people aren’t reading. More likely, it’s our infatuation with reality TV and social media. If this is actually the case, then our society is in serious trouble, for words anchor civilization. The next time you think about giving a gift card, consider giving one from a book store rather than Starbucks. In the long run, the recipient might thank you.