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Changes of Reading Habits

In this age of media technology where the Internet is increasingly playing a more and more important role in our lives, book publishers and libraries are facing fierce competition. Are people still reading books and what kind of books are they reading?


How do you usually get the information you want? For many students and office workers in China, their first Internet stop is the search engine Google. For any information they want, they simply type in a keyword, click enter, and within seconds relevant web pages appear on the computer screen.


So are people still reading books? The answer is definitely yes. It's simply not realistic to curl up with a computer and read a novel. But there is no denying reading habits in China, and other countries, are changing. Through responses from interviewees, we have got a glimpse into people's shift in reading habits.


Mr Li, a business consultant says his purpose for reading is to learn practical knowledge.


"I like biographies of successful people and books that give tip on how people become successful. Besides, I read books about the law and architecture. They give me basic related knowledge," said Li.


"I like comic books, especially the Japanese comic books," said Xing Ming Yan, a junior student, reads for pure entertainment.


"I like to read cookery book," said Miss Zhang an office worker who usually reads magazines. "And I usually buy fashion magazines which contains fashion trends, some interesting quiz's and tips on how to apply make-up."


It seems that the purpose of reading has changed a lot. People tend not to read for entertainment, or escapism. People are reading in order to learn new things. Books that teach people how to be more successful, wealthier or more beautiful have long sit on the best-seller charts. People are also interested in buying comics and magazines. Just remember how the comic novels of Jimmy Liao, a Taiwanese artist, have taken China and other countries by storm.


But educators say reading is important to increase people knowledge and also to develop peoples imagination and language skills. No matter what you like to read, why not turn off the computer and television and curl up with a good book, make yourself comfortable and open the door to another world.


(CRI January 18, 2005)

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