I orginally wrote this as a reply to Kassia's post at Booksquare, but got on my soapbox and decided it belonged here rather than taking up space in her comments section.
What got me started was this quote from her post: "The competition for books isn’t necessarily other books as much as everything else in life."
I remember the day after my daughter was born, I reclined in my hospital bed leisurely reading the Sunday paper. My doctor walked in, laughed and said, "Enjoy that paper. It's the last reading you'll do for a while." I laughed too, not realizing how prophetic his words were to be.
In the space of one birth I went from a reader who read several books a week to one who read NO books for the next ten years (unless Golden Books count). I just didn't have the time and when I did, I was too exhausted to do more than plop in front of the mindless TV and let it wash over me. Only in the past two years have my old habits crept back into my life -- my daughter is in college and my son graduates high school in one more year.
Do the math. That's SEVENTEEN YEARS of not buying books, not having time to read. Seventeen years of not supporting the publishing industry (well, except to write my own books and hope others weren't in the same predicament as I was).
And what happened to books in the seventeen years I was gone? The price skyrocketed! Talk about sticker shock! I was buying new books at $2 - $3 before. Now I have to troll the bargain bins to find new books under $10 and those are paperbacks that have been out a while. With one kid in college and another heading there soon...the price for a brand-new, fresh off the shelf book is too much money.
So where do I turn? Ebooks, of course. I can afford those, even if I can't afford a pricey reader. And that, in turn, limits my reading time to when I can get the computer. But computers have so many other cool things to do (like read Booksquare :) )...
No, the world isn't making it easy to read books anymore. And publishers aren't making it any easier.
"The competition for books isn’t necessarily other books as much as everything else in life." That sums it up pretty well. Thanks, Kassia!