On the readers:

“In the management of many sports stadiums, the difference between losing and making money depends on the proper design of the passageways for the optimum circulation of vendors. The sporting event is thus a way of assembling an audience that may be sold to hotdog, beer, popcorn, and coffee concessions.

In the case of the book, there are no third parties: all costs are paid by the consumer. Where commercial broadcast radio and television are concerned, the opposite is true:  the audience pays for nothing except the purchase of the equipment. Newspapers and magazines are paid for partly by third parties and partly by the customer.

It follows, therefore, that for the reader books are relatively more expensive than the other media. The book’s relative expense limits its reach, especially when its potential to readers aren’t well off, though public libraries reduce this barrier by providing access to books for free…

A book is like a conversation, and it isn’t true that anyone can follow each and every conversation, joining or abandoning it at will. For that to be possible, we’d always have to be discussing the weather, or something similar, in a conversation destined to begin over and over and never move on…

The problem is not that millions of poor people have little or no buying power. You may have the money to buy a book but not the interest or the training to follow its content. This happens even with college graduates. May of them would rather write than read. In fact, millions of them have never learned what it is to love to read…”

-Gabriel Zaid, So Many Books 

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