THE THREE "Rs"

Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. I’m not even sure they still teach that kind of stuff in schools anymore. But what I’m talking about here is in regards to the reading habits of Americans these days.

I read a lot. There are always books, magazines and whatnot laying around my office and house, sometimes far too many. But I have learned a lot of things by reading… and naturally doing. I recently read – there we go again – that the average American aged 20-34 spends only about seven minutes a day reading. I don’t know what that relates to as far as magazines, books and even the internet, but that doesn’t sound like a lot of time spent perusing the written word. Nor do I know what that number would have been in the pre-internet days. My guess it was probably higher than that.

What’s the point here?

Not much other than to urge you to read – preferably Drag Racing Edge – but thankfully there are still a couple of drag racing related titles from which you can make a choice. All of us work hard to provide you with meaningful topics, topics you can learn a lot from, and that includes maybe just an escape from our everyday world. And we all need your support.

A quick impromptu poll amongst the younger generation might show they are bombarded with information, be it social media, television or the internet. Sitting down reading a book or magazine might not give them the satisfaction; or even maybe the information; they want. That’s the job we as magazine producers have to combat.

While we have a fair amount of subscribers to the print version of Drag Racing Edge magazine and always looking for more (selfish plug here: you can subscribe online at www.dragracingedge.com), I can honestly tell you it doesn’t compare to what car magazine subscriber numbers were decades ago. I can remember “reading” where magazines such as Hot Rod and Car Craft had subscribers in the hundreds of thousands. I doubt there are few magazines today which even come close to that, although I’m suspecting the major players (Sports Illustrated, Time, Forbes, etc.) still have numbers that high.

Maybe it’s my age, but I can’t even explain how gratifying it is to sit down and read something; a book, magazine, whatever. Yeah I know… that internet thing probably hasn’t helped in that regard. While there is certainly a lot of information “out there,” so much can be gained from sitting down with a piece of paper in your hands. Maybe I’m being a little naïve in this regard, but I still believe a lot of people still prefer that “piece of paper.” And of course it’s my belief the bombardment of info today has added to the falling attention spans we have. Some may not admit it, but how many times have you opened up an internet browser looking for something in particular and then find yourself seeing something else which grabs your attention, in some cases forgetting what you originally went there for?

Certainly, the internet has its place but it’s my contention should a story on the internet be any longer than a computer screen length; whatever that may be; it’s too long and people “click off,” and on to something else. I have however, noticed that printed magazines have been going to longer stories, more text, and that’s the perfect place to do so; more info.

While the amount of printed consumer magazines has largely stayed constant over the years, most – Drag Racing Edge included – have embraced the internet and use both forms to their advantage. Our internet site – www.dragracingedge.com – may include timely stories, whereas the printed version allows us to spend more efforts on technical subjects, further in-depth stories on personalities and topics, and maybe just entertain you a little.

Again, what’s the point here?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just to say how much I like to read, and of course write. It really is a very gratifying experience and I’d like to think it’s contagious. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO