Digital Fatigue Changing Reading Habits


We live in an era when technology is changing everything, and for years we’ve followed the migration of readers from print versions of bestsellers to tablets, Kindles and Nooks.  The entire buzz has been about the growth of e-books, until now.

Publisher’s Weekly Editorial Director Jim Malliot has a term for the growing disenchantment with e-books.  “Digital Fatigue,” he says, is the buzzword these days in the U.S. among booksellers.  “After looking at screens all day at work people aren’t really as interested in going home and reading books on screens as they once were,” Malliot tells KTRH News.  “The last couple of year’s sales of e-books have gone down,” he reports.

The same thing is happening across the pond, where the British call it “Screen Fatigue” and point to a 17% decline in sales.

Amber Seely, Division Manager, Collection Management with the Harris County Public Library, says the trend hasn’t caught up with readers who frequent libraries yet.  “We have seen a slight decline in print books, but we have also seen a massive uptick in the digital circulation just in the last year. It’s gone up almost 30%,” she says.

It’ll be interesting to see if that changes over time.  Malliot says book readers are in a state of flux today, and there is no telling what technology could be bouncing around in someone’s brain today that will change the way we’re all reading tomorrow.


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