Sunday, July 03, 2011

Reading formats

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time in waiting rooms over the last two months. While they are usually loud rooms with lots of people talking or demanding answers, I observed an interesting trend. Cell phones, tablets, books and puzzles were all in use. One family of 27 (I'm assuming it was extended) talked amongst themselves as well as to others on their cell phone. A woman in her late 70's was texting someone while a young man approximately nine or ten years old was reading a 39 Clues book.

At another table a young woman in her 20's was on her cell phone. The three year old beside her was putting a puzzle together.

A different family group was playing a Solitaire tournament on their ipads. Again, it was the youngest group that was reading a book.

We all had paperbacks but my brother and I were texting each other about the family of 27. If only 2 visitors were allowed at a time, how long would they take to all see their loved one. It was 11pm at the time of our texts. Five more people came in to join that family. Too much math for me.

That was just one particular night. In the time I've been consciously observing the trend, it is the older generation using electronic devices while the pre-teens are reading books. It's not hard and fast, empirical data, just my observations.

It gave me hope for the future of books. In multiple formats.


  1. Several years ago, I had to spend a lot of time in a waiting room. This was back in the dark ages, before cell phones. There were a number of us there waiting, different families. If anyone wanted to reach us, they'd call the pay phones in the back of the waiting room. Anyone there would answer the phone and go fetch the person needed. We all looked out for each other. It was like we'd created a community all our own, for a while.

  2. I live your data! Have you found this to be so in your hospital system? I now see postings in the ER requesting people to respect the privacy of patients awaiting treatment by not taking their photographs by cell phone. =8 It worries me that requests like that have to be made.