The question from the BBC is Do you need to read books to be clever?
No, because that’s not sufficient. You need to also understand them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or Quantum Electro-Dynamics. It’s not sufficient to have read them, if you can’t grasp what they’re telling you.
I read a paper everyday and use the internet. That probably makes me better informed than a lot of book readers out there.
I read books. I read papers, and use the Internet. I can honestly say that, for pure, verifiable, useful information, books win every time. If I want to get an understanding of quantum mechanics, am I better off reading an introductory book on quantum mechanics, or a few Wikipedia articles? It’s the same with history, biology or cosmology. Whatever information I want to read about, I can glean more quickly and more reliably from a book, than I ever could from just scouring the internet.
Although I will freely admit that I’ve never read either of David or Victoria Beckham’s biographies.
(Note: although the book links go to Amazon, I’m not affiliated with Amazon, and do not necessarily endorse them. I do, however, love the books!)