'Reading Is a Collective Experience'

"I think 'live' is very, very important; being there is different and it's obvious in the apparently exponential and unstoppable rise of book festivals this is going to go on happening. Meeting the author has become an art form of its own. It's especially true of children's books; there's been an incredible change in the way children read.

"It seems to me nowadays that--and I think it has come from Harry Potter--reading is a collective experience. No child wants to be reading a book that nobody else is reading, they all want to be reading the same book as everybody else. And we know that from bestseller statistics identifying that.... Gone are the days when we see reading as a lonely, solitary activity, or we see children as readers being 'bookworms' and, in some ways, socially separate."

--Julia Eccleshare, children's director for the Hay Festival, speaking at the Bookseller's Children's Conference in London yesterday
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