(StatePoint) Are you reading less than you used to? You're not alone. Between our smartphones, endless cable channels and all those other forms of modern entertainment, it's no wonder book-reading is on the decline amongst American adults.
In fact, the percent of adults who didn't read even one book in the previous year increased from 12 percent in 1978, to 22 percent in 2011, according to Gallup surveys.
But new technologies and trends in the world of literature are making reading more entertaining and more interactive than ever before. And many experts predict this age-old pastime will grow in popularity as people catch on to the evolution of books.
"Reading is often thought to be a passive activity," says M.D. Kaczkowski, author of the new thriller, "The Seers, New World Order," a book that is breaking new literary ground by including an interactive digital component. "But in the Internet Age, people are looking to truly engage and interact with creative content."
In the pages of "The Seers" -- a fast-paced crime drama with supernatural elements -- Kaczkowski enhances his readers' experience with Quick Response (QR) codes that are compatible with smartphones, illustrations and video links. Sprinkled throughout the book, these elements provide a fictional platform that goes beyond the pages of the book.
By accessing these elements, readers are taken to The Seers website at www.theseers.com, where they are presented with videos, audio recordings, letters and other texts that expand on the narrative. They can even choose original songs to listen to while reading different chapters and to participate in an augmented reality game that draws on their own personal environment.
Other authors are even giving audiences control over content, using feedback garnered from modern "choose your own adventure" books and Internet forums for fans to help dictate future plotlines.
"If you're craving a deeper engagement with your reading, you were born in the right era," quips Kaczkowski. "For my new thriller, for example, it made perfect sense to integrate new technologies directly into the pages of the book, since the novel combines science with spirituality."
And reading books electronically makes for a more interactive experience, too, as one can highlight text, search for key passages and look up words.
If the last time you picked up a book was for a school assignment, it's definitely time to check out how new trends in literature can put some excitement into reading.