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Harry Potter and the magic of books

19 November 2001

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal suggests that kids may be turning back to books. Across the US, bookstores are reporting an increase in young book-buyers of between 20% and 75% over the past three years. According to a survey by Leisure Trends, over 25% of people under 25 now say that reading is their favourite pastime, compared to 10% a year ago. If this is the 'Harry Potter' effect, then it is should be greeted enthusiastically by everyone connected with writing, publishing or selling books.

But perhaps television has finally lost its appeal. If children are picking up books again, there may be real hope for the future of reading. Alison Reid, the owner of the Diesel Bookstore in Oakland, California, endorses the general trend: 'This generation has far more patience, is much more open to art and culture than any I've seen.'