A new and depressing report from Aviva says that UK households have an average of 8.2 electronic devices, but 10% do not own a single book. No wonder the world’s going to pot.To say that the UK family home has changed over the past decade would be the understatement of, well, the last decade.
Mealtimes that were once the cornerstone and the hearth of conversation now resemble railway carriages where various family members, adults as well as kids and teenagers, have to be pried from using their devices to have a conversation.
This is bad enought, but a new study from Aviva says that one in 10 people say they have no hard copy books in their homes. This rises to one in five households where inhabitants are aged 18-24. The shared flat is now merely a hub for shared bandwidth.
Not a single hard copy. 10% or 20%. Nobody needs to burn books, technology has done that for us. We are sleepwalking to a future of fake news, where hard-to-manufacture analogue books are replaced by digital versions that can easily be changed.
Fake news? How about fake books? Nobody will be able to tell the difference, cultural hacking will be the new norm, every book can be discoloured, every page torn out and nobody will care.
Even other family-bonding pursuits such as board games and cards are leeching away. The average number of board games, packs of playing cards and packs of dominoes per home has plummetted, while the number of households who do not even OWN these items has risen.
On the digital dark side, the number of internet-enabled devices is steadily growing. Aviva data suggests that this figure now stands at 8.2 items across all households, rising to 10.9 in homes with children. This includes tablets, phones, smart TVs and other connected IoT devices in the so-called Smart Home.
It should be remembered that his report was commissioned by an insurance company. Books and board games are not worth insuring, thieves are unlikely to steal them unless they have a screen on them. Interest is vested in terrifying book-readers.
However, if anybody knows current home trends it’s an insurance company. Ownership is money and who knows, maybe books will return like vinyl has done before it and a iibrary will be valuable again, not dispensable.
For now, it’s just more terrible data in a world that as it transitions from analogue to digital is losing the essence of its humanity. To spite the fuckers, I’m off to my favourite bookshop, Hatchards on Piccadilly to buy a load of those beautiful books. You should do the same, and not just the 90%.