Digitization: Transforming mode of book reading culture.

FAISALABAD -- The prevalent notion that 'book reading culture is fading away' stands in contradiction with the ground reality as the number of book readers have been increased with rising number of published books and electronic gadgets.

Though the readers of classical literature (hardcopy lovers) have reduced as the material had been presented to them in audio-video form. But the online mode has made reading easy, accessible, and cost effective.

Books were generally divided into three genres including religious books, syllabus and informative books and classical fiction books. However, the number of readers of classical literature was low as compared to the number of readers of religious and syllabus books which was increasing rapidly.

The most modern, efficient and more convincing instruments which were introduced in near past to provide basic information to the readers and viewers have captured only those readers who read books for entertainment. Only this kind of readers have switched over to the audio-video modes instead of printed material.

Similarly, enrollment in schools, colleges and universities has also increased to manifold which has been reciprocally enhancing the number of book readers every year. History shows that all types of knowledge were written by hand like Quran Pak, Tafaseer and Ahaadees. Muslim writers wrote more than 500,000 books on different subjects including medical (tibb), Astronomy, Botany, Zoology, Physics, Sociology, History, and all types of social and science subjects.

In 18th Century, first printing press was introduced in Heidelberg, Germany. Muslim Rulers (Ottoman (Osmania) Caliphate) declared it Haraam (prohibited) which stopped dissemination of knowledge produced by the hard work of Muslim scholars.

During this critical period, the western nations translated hand-written manuscripts of Muslim scholars into English and other languages which paved the way for advent of new scientific era in Europe which was passing through the dark ages.

After at least 1000 years, Muslims realized this blunder and started installation of printing machinery which started printing and publishing of knowledge as envisioned by the Muslim scholars. The literacy rate in Muslims always remained low.

However, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and others motivated Muslim students to get knowledge of modern sciences including English as most of knowledge was available in English language.

In Pakistan, the literacy rate has always remained low...

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