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How books have taken a back seat in today’s digital world?

I’ll be honest, this is a topic that I have always wanted to explore based on personal experiences and thoughts. I have been an avid reader and a bookworm for a long time. Since my first picture book in kindergarten probably and I have always loved them. That interest and love for the written word only grew as time passed. They kept me company when the real world was too much to handle and became my refuge. I loved books more than people. They were less complicated, easy to get through, and never judged. They were my great escape. Took me to far away places where I got to live the lives of the characters, walk through dark alleys and eery forests. They took me on roller coaster rides of emotions and taught me more about life than any school or friend or family ever could. There was a time when I read a new novel every 3 days.

But as time passed, I noticed that my priorities had changed. I had given up reading novels in favor of schoolwork and a new thing called the internet. A further self-analysis made me realize that more than school work, it was the new found curiosity for surfing through the great internet that distracted me more.

I used to be the person who loved reading newspapers and books in my free time. But now, I spent every waking minute and free time glued to a screen spending time on stuff that was in no way doing me any good. From spending hours on social media scrolling through news feeds and trends to playing online games, I had completely distance, no, forgotten about books completely.

The advent of the internet and especially the social networks and associated businesses like online games and platforms have taken over our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Most people don’t need to be told they’re addicted to technology and social media. If reaching for your cell phone first thing in the morning doesn’t tell you as much, multiple scientific studies and books will. And lately, the people responsible for this modern day addiction have come out admitting that this was their plan all along. Recently, Sean Parker, Silicon Valley bad boy and Facebook’s first president, told Axios in an interview that the service “literally changes your relationship with society,” and “probably interferes with productivity in weird ways.” And, he added, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook’s main goal is to get and keep people’s attention, Parker said. ”The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’”

Attention, he said, was fueled by “a little dopamine hit every once in a while,” in the form of a like or a comment, which would generate more content, in the forms of more likes and comments.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”Parker said that the inventors of social media platforms, including himself, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, “understood consciously” what they were doing. “And we did it anyway.”

This is the principle behind every social network and online games today. They give their users a false sense of hope and satisfaction. Our brains are wired to release chemicals like serotonin and dopamine which result in the so-called feeling of satisfaction and/or happiness. These chemicals are by nature designed to be released naturally when triggers are triggered. Triggers like meditation, exercise, winning a deal you had been working on for months, holding your child for the first time, intercourse, etc. What social networks and online games have done is mimic these triggers in the form of social validation. Teenagers who use facebook feel the release of these chemicals when the photo they posted get 100 likes, making them feel like validated members of a pack. Girls feel happy and overjoyed when the popular hot guy likes or comments on their picture.

In short, our lives have turned into a large set of mini-chases for dopamine or serotonin. Social validation and the feeling of being in a pack is our drug and social networks and online games like PubG are the drug dealers. And we are all addicted which in turn makes the drug dealers very rich people. In this chase for fakes, We have forgotten how the natural pleasures of life felt. We have forgotten how it feels to get lost in a world of an authors’ making, to live a mini life inside a book, to learn from characters and their mistakes and strengths and weaknesses.

I have developed something called a productivity factor for my personal use. It’s not a general thing (I don’t know if something with the same name exists, this is something I use in my life). It’s quite simple actually. Our lives are short and we need to spend every second of our time alive like it was out last. So, Everything I spent my time on has to give me something in return, spiritually or physically…….in whatever form it may be. But the return should be something of value. For example, If I spent an hour listening to a podcast, and if at the end of it, I feel I have learned something of value, I call it a value task. At the same time, If I spent hours on a SimCity game building a city and repairing stuff and earning coins which have no consequence in the real world, I call it a zero-sum task (ZST…..like GST but a toxic waste).

Our time is the most valuable thing we have and spending it on ZSTs is actually the most disrespectful thing one can do. Our lives need to matter. We need to learn and understand that we are all here for a reason. To lead, to be an example, to help, to guide, to be there for others, to be human.

I strongly urge you to understand the impact that the digital revolution has brought into our lives. It is a great tool in the right hands when used for the right purpose with the right intentions. Otherwise, it is the greatest weapon of destruction mankind has ever come in contact with. Try to keep a distinction between real life and the digital world.

I have recently started to find my way back into books and let me tell you, it has been the cure to all my problems. Its helped me cope with stress at work, personal issues (most of which apparently stemmed from my digital life), and even helped me get a fresh perspective on things. And I tell you, the joy of going through a novel, going through the elaborate world someone’s imagination created is the best feeling I have felt in my life.

I hope what I have written makes a difference in someone’s life. If not, At least I have said it out loud, and I am happy.

Jesil K Jose

Jesil is a 23-year-old engineer and entrepreneur with a great love for good art and cultures. He is a bookworm through and through and enjoys reviewing books in his spare time. He is also an amateur blogger and writes on topics that make him curious. He enjoys reading novels and self-help books when he isn't coding or running a company.

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Audiobooks vs Physical Books

Listening or reading a book are two different paths that leads to the same destination. Both if then have there own importance. 
Here, let us just not compare them and just talk about both good and bad sides of each of them.
Is listening to Audiobooks beneficial? What do you generally prefer? Audiobooks or the physical ones?
 
The first and foremost point that strikes my mind is:
 

Pronunciation:

While reading a book, we sometimes get caught up with some words which are difficult to pronounce. But audiobooks solve this problem easily.

The Book Lovers' Things:

The most exciting thing about being a book lover is purchasing a new book and smelling that aroma while having a cup of coffee. Audiobooks at some extent lacks that excitement.

Multitasking:

Here, definitely audiobooks wins over the physical ones. You can have excess to audiobooks wherever and whenever you want. Just take an example, you can listen to a audiobook while driving or while cooking and hence, utilizing your time. For reading a physical book, you have to leave the other chores and concentrate at one thing at a time, that is, sit and read while hurting your back.

Concentration and Listening Power:

Listening audiobooks at starting needs a lot of concentration and good listening power whereas, physical books just require a bit if your concentration. But, don’t worry that just needs a little bit of practice.

Handling:

Audiobooks are easy to handle as all the stuff is in your phone in some folder or app. Physical books are not that easy to handle as they need a hell lot of care and attention. Also, many of us faces the lack of space for keeping them.

So, for me everything has its own pros and cons and the list goes endless by the point of view of each and every person. Nothing in life is perfect. You have to make it perfect. Audio or physical, the main motive in life is to learn and both helps us to achieve that. They are just the medium of making the learning process exciting.
 
What are you waiting for? Go grab your earphones or the pretty little happiness (physical book) from the table.

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Anushka Sharma

I am a medical student. I am 18 years old and books are love. Apart from books, I love dogs. I do author interviews and write book reviews too. The quote that I always like to pen is: CREATE YOUR DESTINY.

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The Best Type of Bad Reviews

Some would argue that ‘bad reviews’ or negative reviews have no place in the bookish community and only foster feelings of hurt and hatred and negativity as a whole, but in my opinion they are crucial for both authors and readers.

If written in the right way, negative reviews can be helpful for a number of reasons. The best type of negative reviews would be the ones where the reader doesn’t blindly hate on the story or author but gives constructive criticism and tips for improvement. During the initial stages of sending their story to beta readers, sensitivity readers or giving ARC copies to the very first readers, authors need to sit back with an open mind and thoroughly review the negative feedback they get even if it is rather painful. Many a times the feedback may be about some small things that the author can improve on easily but makes a huge difference to the story all in all. And yes, other times like when the author’s writing style is called  ‘not captivating enough’ that’s not something they can do much about. Their only choice is to learn a lesson from it and research on these weaknesses pointed out by reviewers so that they can work on and avoid them in future.

Negative reviews can be helpful for other readers too; especially if they come from a fellow reviewer they trust. Depending on the things pointed out in these bad reviews a person gets a sense of what the book is about and whether or not they should read it. Because negative reviews don’t deter as many people as you think they would, infact sometimes people read a book because the negative review they read said that the book was slow-paced and heavy on the romance side which was not what the reader was led to believe, but another reader may want exactly that kind of a book.

And lastly, you cannot stop readers from writing these so called bad reviews. They have a right to freedom and speech and can air their thoughts in whichever way they please. So the only option we all really have is to accept and celebrate them.

Charvi Koul

Charvi is an introverted book blogger with a flair for writing and unending love for fictional characters. She is a huge psychology enthusiast and loves to paint or go out for a swim. You will usually find her day dreaming about books, plotting stories in her head, blogging away or trying to escape certain death by her stack of unread books.

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Heal & Deal | How should authors deal with Bad Reviews?

Reviews, why are they so important? What is the real difference between a bad review and a good one? Being a writer, the most important thing is to connect with the readers at a personal level. Reviews tells you that how much you were able to connect as they are the point of view of an individual. Good or bad each review is important for a writer, for their development.

Why do you always feel that rage and anger when you see a bad one? The reason behind this is that our brain is designed to do so. It distinguishes good or bad reviews as good or bad news as allows you to behave accordingly. So, now lets come to the point; how should authors deal with Bad Reviews?

It is not only you.

The most important thing in this field is to know that you are not alone. There are many bestsellers with some bad reviews. Not sure? Go find them in amazon. Lemme give you an example, just have a look at “THINK AND GROW RICH” by Napoleon Hill #1 Bestseller. Out of 4,330 reviews, 9% of them has three star or less rating. But still it is a #1 Bestseller.

What I think of all the Good Reviews? | The Reality

The thing is that, when I find a book with 500 reviews and all good ones, the first thing that strikes on my mind is that they are fake or the author must be a rich guy/girl who can afford a hell lot of fake reviews. Maybe, he/she was just flattering a lot of family, friends and relatives. That’s something that no author would want their readers to think.

Acceptance is the Key

Responding to bad reviews just raises controversies. Try to accept the criticism. Moving on and acceptance are very much important for day to day lives. You are not writing to make friends. You are doing this for you.

The Sadness

Nothing is bad in getting a bad review. You just need to understand that each and every person has his/her point of view and accept the fact that your writing cannot please everyone. Also tell me one thing that, do you like every book that you read?

Bad Reviews can be Motivating & Inspiring

In spite of sitting and getting angry, try to work on it. Analyse each and every review carefully. There might be some elements that can actually improve the quality of your writing and your book.

Never miss out on our writing tips, book lists and a lot more by following us on Instagram and subscribing to our weekly newsletter.

Anushka Sharma

I am a medical student. I am 18 years old and books are love. Apart from books, I love dogs. I do author interviews and write book reviews too. The quote that I always like to pen is: CREATE YOUR DESTINY.