Book Expo America kicked off today, and while the show floor won’t open until tomorrow there is already a lot of talk underway about a topic that will dominate discussions this year — digital publishing. This brings me to news I stumbled on at Moby Lives, of a new scientific study published in the Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, which shows that simply having books at home increases the level of education a child will attain. The 20-year study also concludes that the outcome of a child’s education level and how far they advance will be affected twice as much by having books at home than by their father’s education level, which is also a determining factor here.
This sort of thinking makes sense to me. Just being surrounded by books can make them tantalizing enough for you to reach out to discover what lies within them on your own. Having them constantly present can instill in a person that reading and literature is significant and worthwhile.
Heading into the digital age of books I wonder how this will affect young people should electronic readers become the dominant medium. If they are not surrounded by books will they think of them in a different way? With so much else to distract them (I’m looking at you World of Warcraft), will they think of books much if they’re not physically there? What say you, readers?