Friday, October 15, 2010

Trend Watch: Reading is Alive & Well

Last night, the fabulous St. Louis County Library presented YA author Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief series), to a crowd of 2,000 people. Yes, 18(!) groups of people wanted their books signed. (Sorry, only 1 book per person and no photos due to time limitations.) Doors opened at 5 for the 7 p.m. presentation. By 5:45, when we arrived, we were in Group 8. I brought 5 boys (all big fans, save 1; all 6-8th graders, all supposed to not be interested in reading due to their age and Y chromosome).

Yes, I realize Harry Potter has made the YA market the ultimate sweet spot for authors today (as the multiple parents of all nationalities attested), but this wasn’t that. This was 2,000 people on a Thursday night celebrating books by celebrating an author. Plus, I can almost guarantee most of those kids had bought most of his titles.

I wonder how many music acts could pull in 2,000 people on a week night? (As way of comparison, in February Nita & I attended a local Switchfoot concert and it had a slightly smaller crowd. Switchfoot!) I wonder how many other media projects could pull in 2,000 people on a week night in the Midwest?

So please stop with the “Print is Dead” and “Children Don’t Read” mindlessness. Open your eyes! Reading print books will go on for many, many more decades because it creates the ultimate one-on-one experience and warm communal events.

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