Beatty says that society changed to favor more sports and group activities, which resulted in less time to think. This meant more cartoons and pictures in books, and more impatience. People were always in a hurry to go somewhere in their cars, not sit and read.
In addition, more population meant a greater diversity of population. This meant authors had to write to mass audiences and remove the controversy from their books. Further, people turned more to magazines which became, Beatty said, bland like "vanilla tapioca."
People voluntarily read fewer and fewer books as time passed, even before books were banned. As the population became less informed, the government decided that it was better for everyone—made for greater happiness—if the population conformed to the same ideas. To enforce happiness and prevent children and teens who were smart from being bullied and tormented, the government decided to ban books altogether. Too much thought, it decided, leads to conflict and social unrest. Firemen would serve society by ridding it of books. As Beatty says,
A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.