I’ve just re-read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, it really is a superb book. Over the holidays I read the first in the J C Sansom series of Shardlake books, Dissolution, prompting the Wolf Hall re-read. Around July 2014 we banned internet access in the bedroom, no phones, no iPads, nothing, only print. The change has been like discovering a long lost friend and realising why you became friends in the first place, something chemical. My book reading has been on a steady decline for the past four years or so, so many distractions, everything is vying for my attention. Mark Zuckerburg has started to recommend books via his stable of social media companies Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Not surprisingly the books he chooses race up Amazon’s best seller list, is this the start of a renaissance for books? The internet, and in particular social media, has helped us put down our novels, biographies, history and text books and pick up our smartphones and tablets with worrying regularity. Foyles and Waterstones in the UK reaped the rewards of the print resurgence over the holidays as online growth slowed, one book retailer remarked that kindle sales had ‘fallen off a cliff’.
The pace of technology innovation might be switching people off, Amazon had a bad year in 2014 as far as profits and the stock price are concerned, 2015 may be difficult as well especially given our rekindled love affair with print.