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As a student, something I encounter often is the notion that whenever possible long sections of text should be broken up with lots of invented section breaks. The justification for this is usually something along the lines of “people don’t like to read” or ”nobody wants to look at all that text.” As someone who has always enjoyed thick books with no pictures, I find these notions irritating and even offensive; I feel that the continuous success of mammoth books from popular authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling make it pretty clear that people really don’t need someone else chopping reading into smaller chunks.
Is there really a good typographic reason for breaking text up more often than authors and editors might want? Or is this just a tendency of design professors and writers to throw in extra flourishes (and live vicariously through student work)? Or is it all just part of the trend of dumbing down some areas of popular culture?