How often do you sit in an airplane each year? I’m not much of an air traveller myself. Perhaps once or twice a year. That’s all. In the USA there were 689 million airplane travellers in 2015 and the population is almost 323 million. So, when you take into account there are also a lot of tourists traveling by air to the US I would estimate that Americans also travel by air about twice a year on average. A flight from Los Angeles to New York is about six hours and there are probably more short flights than long distance flights. So let’s say that the average flight duration is 3 hours. That means that the average American travels about 6 hours per year by air.
In a PEW Research report form 2015 it was reported that women read 14 books a year and men 9. So when we take an average of about 12 books read a year, and when we take into account that reading a book takes about 6 hours that means we are reading books on average 72 hours a year. That’s twelve times as much as we travel by air. Ok, I admit, this is pretty lousy science, but bear with me, I’m about to make my point.
When you are reading the most annoying thing in the world is your smartphone going off with some irrelevant notification. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a paper book or an ebook. Your smartphone is one big distraction. To be able to read properly you need to get rid of all these annoying notifications. The best way to do that is to shut down your smartphone, but when you use that same smartphone for reading an ebook, that’s not really an option. The second best option is flight mode. Right? Right!
So here’s my point. When you take into account that people only rarely use airplanes and that they are far more likely to read a book, why on earth don’t we rename flight mode into reading mode, or book mode? Doesn’t that make a lot more sense? Yes, I think it would. So that’s my plea. Please, Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei and Google, would you be so kind to rename flight mode into reading mode? That would be kind of a nice gesture. Change the logo, change the name. It would make a lot of people really happy. It would also be a boon for reading. Paper and ebook reading alike. It could be that one little thing that could alter the course of history and remind people to go back to reading books instead of wasting their time reading short useless messages on Twitter and Facebook. On the right you can see my poor Photoshop effort of what this could look like.
You see, it’s only a minor change to the user interface, something that Apple or Google could change in the blink of an eye. It’s a small step for Apple/Google, but a giant leap for modern reading. Sorry guys I was offline for a while in reading mode! I’m sure you’ll understand. Ok, no problem, reading is important. Who on earth wants to be connected all the time…