All this stuff online and we still want to read books

World Book DayToday is World Book Day, which aims to promote reading amongst young children in particular. But why do we need to promote books to children, when several novels-worth of material are added to the Internet every hour? Millions of words are added every day to the web, we read even more online than we have ever done and yet they want us to read more books…!

The cynical individual might think that World Book Day is nothing more than a promotional vehicle to get people into bookshops and part with some extra cash. The kinder person might think it’s a brilliant idea to encourage children to read.

Whatever your views, the fact of the matter is we are buying more books than at any time in history. Here we are with vast amounts of written material online and yet we are buying more and more books. Indeed, one of the most successful online enterprises, of course, is Amazon, which encourages us to buy yet more books.

Go to a “car boot” sale and you will certainly see at least one book stall – and mostly, they are amongst the busiest stalls at the event. Books are sold in their millions online, yet bookstores still thrive in the High Street – and nowadays you can buy books with your bread and milk at the supermarket.

We have gone book mad…!

Not only that, we are downloading ebooks and reports by the gigabyte each day and every meeting you go to these days has a pile of books and manuals you can buy or take away. Never before have we been surrounded by so much reading material. What’s going on? After all, we can’t possibly read it all.

What’s happening is something psychologists call “confirmation bias“. This means we tend to look for as much information as possible that will help confirm that we are doing the right thing. Hence people interested in, say, personal development tend to buy every book on the subject (most of which say the same thing) only to “prove” to themselves that their quest for improvement is “right”. Similarly, Internet marketers will download everything they can get their hands on about the subject just to make sure they were on the right track after all.

The more information there is in the system – the more we want. So the more books, the more web sites and the more downloadable PDF files there are on a subject, the more we devour them because we wish to confirm that we are “doing the right thing” – confirmation bias.

This is good news for anyone running an online business. It means that if you produce your material in blog form, articles, downloadables and even in printed book format, you will get people wanting it. The people who read your blog, will still buy the book because they are affected by confirmation bias; they just want to check, again, they are “right”.

It means that every online business should be producing books, booklets, downloadable reports and so on. To avoid doing that means you are missing out on a huge and growing gap in your marketplace, brought about by confirmation bias. As more information is produced online and in books, the greater the need people have for confirmation. The result is an ever upward spiral of desire for yet more information – and that provides your business with a gap that can be filled.

So, since it is World Book Day today, why not make today the day you start planning “that book” you’ve always wanted to write. And by the time it comes to the next World Book Day, you should have sold it to all those people who knew they were right all along.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
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