From the earliest days of human civilization, our ancestors recognized an important need. They had to communicate, and they set out to find a way. Their first "language" might have been a primitive system of gestures and grunts, but in time they figured out how to give names to the things around them. They spoke, they wrote, they left behind records of their history. All of these advances became possible through the invention of a device that we now know as "words." Cave drawings and hieroglyphics yielded to alphabets; the stone tablet gave way to the scroll, the codex, and then the iPad. And here we are. Words are our business.
According to BookScan (an A. C. Nielsen company), American consumers purchased 751,729,000 books in 2010. That's very close to an all-time high (up from just 650 million in 2005), and it bodes quite well for the future of our business. Which reminds us of a song by the Oompa-Loompas in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, about the glory days before the advent of television:
How would they keep themselves contented, before this monster was invented?Have you forgotten? Don't you know? We'll say it very loud and slow:They...used...to...read! They'd read and read. And then proceed to read some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! One half of their lives was reading books!
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