Do You Really think the Attention Span of Readers.....

Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by JPClyde, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 12, 2015
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    London, UK
    No, I don't think readers' attention spans have diminished. I think that's typical millenial-bashing nonsense.

    I think there are now so many books available at the click of a button, for a few quid/dollars/whatever, that readers have no incentive to stick with books that bore them. If I start a book and find myself bored, it takes three seconds for me to backup to my Kindle homepage and open another one. 10 years ago, I'd have paid 3x as much for that paperback and would have to go to a bookshop to buy another one. I finished many more medicore books 10 years ago. Was I better for it? No.

    I've listened to all 24 hrs 38 minutes of The Woman in White on audiobook multiple times. It's long-winded, rambling, in the typical Victorian fashion of using 20 words where 2 would do. I love it. My attention doesn't wander. My attention span is just fine. But I won't last 24 minutes on a book that doesn't engage me, and why should I?
    Tea@3, Wreybies, jannert and 2 others like this.
  2. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

    Jun 20, 2017
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    Colorado Springs
    The former not the latter. I was really tired the day I wrote that message, but felt like explaining something.
    Homer Potvin likes this.
  3. Damien Loveshaft

    Damien Loveshaft Active Member

    Jun 9, 2017
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    I think this depends on your audience more than anything as people age they gain more attention, now I often think YA could hold attention longer than they seem to think I understand that not all teens can read decadent lit or Dante's Inferno like I did freshman year of high, but I also think they can read better than Twilight gives credit. So by the standard they all had lower levels than me I can estimate their span and understanding levels. However I think some adults like my fiance and I actually prefer decadent lit. I considered a lot and this is what I came to as the factors that affect the reader's attention span. So I say the factors are such:
    1. Age
    2. Reading Level
    3. When do they read? (E.G. Someone reading on the train to work has less time to sit through a chapter than a homemaker might or a child on break.)
    4. What Genre do they read? ( Tradaitional sci-fi and Fantasy might get away with a bit more exposition than a Harlequin romance will.)
  4. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Senior Member

    Oct 13, 2016
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    Lisbon, Portugal
    Now you've said it so much better than I did.

    I still don't know about this part. I still can't turn away from a book once I start reading it. Habit is hard to break. And there's a lot to learn from bad books (in one's opinion) too. But that's a discussion for a different thread.
  5. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    Just from my own experience, I find my attention span wanders when I'm reading from a screen. This does not include a Kindle, by the way. I'm fine with a Kindle, because it's set up just like a book. But reading from a computer screen? No. For some reason my attention tends to skip.

    My best friend was a school librarian who was very interested in new tech and worked with it a lot ...encouraging her school system to invest in the latest equipment, etc. She even got her last school to consider (and adopt) iPads for every kid to borrow. However, she told me once that she knew kids weren't taking in information from the screens the way they did from printed-out material. If there was something she needed them to remember (she taught library use classes) she always had it printed and handed out as 'take home sheets.'

    I don't know about people today and printed books, but I do know that screen-reading doesn't work as well for me as printed reading does. I'm always ready to be distracted, for some reason.
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    You can special order a printed copy of my book, but it will cost you extra.
    Also I will sign it, as I get dirty looks for using all the toner at the print shop. :D
  7. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

    Jan 22, 2015
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    If there was any lesser attention span for those who grew up with the internet, gaming systems, a zillion TV channels, etc., I think we'd have seen it by now applied to real life, in millennials' ability to stick to the topic at hand on the job, in conversations, while driving, etc. And no, I don't see it.

    If anything, I think they're smarter because they've had so much information at their fingertips that wasn't easily available way back when.
  8. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

    Jan 16, 2018
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    As compared to what exactly? Can she, or you, or anybody mention when the readers preferred "long winded exposition or long winded amounts of detail" and books that don't keep them engaged and "segway off into other parts of the story" ? Pot boilers and pulp and quick action were always popular in the last three or even five centuries or so. What are we comparing with?
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    Well, if you rephrased "long winded" as "detailed and extended", there are many good books that do/did that.
  10. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Senior Member

    May 30, 2018
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    My attention span for reading has been a bit diminished over the years, but that's because I feel as if I have less free time now that I have a full-time job. I'm going to bed earlier than usual, due to this 8-5 schedule, and that cuts into my free time as well. Now I have to decide what I will focus on during these moments, and that means something is going to have to suffer. My hobbies currently are writing, drawing, and playing video games, but i also like watching movies and reading. But reading gets cut out the most because by the time I'm done with other hobbies, I can't focus on reading. I just want to go to bed. If I have the choice, I'd rather be doing something more engaging/creative than a passive activity.

    I've also grown pickier than normal regarding what I read, and I sadly don't feel like I have the energy to focus on a brand-new book (or TV show) anymore. So I end up re-reading The Lord of the Rings once a year...

    That's my own story, and I know I don't speak for everyone. Sometimes life just makes you have to be more choosy about what hobbies to focus on each day, and it's nothing to do with what generation someone was born into.

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