Nobody’s reading books

These statistics –compiled by Dan Poynter– explain so much. I found these on a Buzz Machine post last week and have been haunted by them since.

  • One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
  • 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book.
  • 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion.
  • Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
  • Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought.

I confess to being something of book pimp. I get really jazzed about a book (a la The Long Tail) and bore the shit out of the people around me about it. And I frequently “loan” books to people who really don’t want to “borrow” them (let alone read them) but they don’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me so. So they take the book and put it on a shelf or in a drawer and that’s as close to reading it as they get.

It isn’t their fault. If they wanted to read the book, they would have gone out an bought it. So no more loaning books unless I hear these words: “May I PLEASE borrow that book? I can’t find it anywhere and I’m dying to read it. I promise to get it back to you next week.”

One thought on “Nobody’s reading books

  1. …and then when you actually confess to reading things like “Norton’s History of Modern Europe”, people look at you as if you’re crazy!

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