In pondering the decline of the newspaper industry, I have picked a quarrel with fellow conservatives who blame the decline on liberal bias. The real problem, I have argued, is that reading itself is on the decline. The publishing world, I have argued, is facing a “demand-side” crisis, because younger generations — raised in an age of electronic media — have failed to acquire the reading habit. (Next time you’re on a plane or train, notice that those under 30 almost never pass the time by reading a newspaper.)
It’s not just newspapers. Book publishers are also fighting market stagnation:
You don’t have to look further than the pages of The New YorkTimesBook Review or the shelves of Borders to see that the market for fiction is shrinking. Even formerly reliable schlock like TV-celebrity memoirs doesn’t do so well anymore. And “the next thing,” as Publishers Weekly editor Sara Nelson notes drily, “is not bloggers writing books.” . . .
Ah, but what if a blogger wrote a book about how nobody reads books anymore? (Just pitching an idea there. Call me, OK?)