Why do Latin Americans and books seem to be incompatibles?

Argentines are the biggest readers of books in the region, Chilean and Peruvian read magazines and newspapers, respectively; but all of them, read more because of a need than by the pleasure of just reading.

An alarm has been ignited. Voices shout warning that the book, analog or digital, will only survive if there are real readers, and that lineage is at risk of extinction, if the strategies to promote reading are not changed and adapted urgently. In the center should be placed the pleasure of reading against the utilitarian use with the one the book is often promoted.

The lack of priority of governments in education seems to be a key part of the reading process success, says Orit Btesh, president of the Panamanian Chamber of Books: "No investment in educational projects and in the training and preparation of teachers". This lack of stability in public policies remembers César Antonio Molina, director of the Casa del Lector, Madrid: "It is an administrative action that requires a long-term and implementing plans that executes something more strategic."

Firstly we find diversity when talking about reading and its behavior in Latin America. That in the particular case of reading, means coexistence of diversity readings in contrast and complementarity. There is, for example, contrast between young people and adults, between women and men. For the young Latin American, who reads more than it is usually supposed, reading is marked primarily by the duty and the demands of school, open to new technologies and closely linked with music and television. Adults, unlike young people are interested in reading newspapers, books and self-improvement, as age increases, the religious books.

Reading is also a gender issue. Women read more than men and have an extraordinary quality on their sides: children believe that their mothers are most suitable for reading aloud and those who rank first as promoting the habit of reading people. The woman, in addition to reading is fundamental to the social reproduction of reading.

But the diversity of readings is even bigger and richer. Books and magazines, newspapers and textbooks are read. But also manuals, cartoons, comic books and brochures. We read about hardware, but each day more about digital media. And in doing so they intermingle, in a creative way, the written text with video, photographic images with computer graphics and sounds.

A second reality is perceived in the reading situation in Latin America: the experience of inequality. In the most unequal continent in the world, recorded high inequality indices, for instance, large differences between the richest and the poorest parts of the population. If the economy of their countries grew at an average rate of 5.5% for 15 years and inequality was reduced to an average annual rate of 0.5%, the proportion of poor would be reduced by the half.

And although usually when we talk about inequality, it commonly brings out economic statistics, the truth is that inequities are also living in politics, in social life and culture. Reading therefore could not be a remote territory of inequalities. Moreover, it features some inequity that makes the chances of the poorest to access and enjoy knowledge, criticism and imagination manifest more reduced.

Studies of cultural consumption in Latin America, have shown that access to books and reading is uneven. First, there is an almost unbridgeable gap between the countryside and cities, either in average reading and holding and buying books.

There are many barriers between reading and the average Latin American, therefore reading should be linked to the development in its various forms, including, of course, writing and school should be a public sphere valuation of a read, involved with debate and reflection, pleasure and autonomy. Because even when a great part of the population expresses it is caused by lack of time, the Latin American finds more pleasure in the T.V or the social media.

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