Tuesday, April 28, 2015
DO AMERICANS STILL READ FOR PLEASURE? by Cheryl Pierson
I subscribe to a little trivia newsletter called “Wisegeek” that comes a couple of times a week in my inbox. The other day, the topic was, Do Americans Still Read for Pleasure?
Here’s what their data shows:
Americans still read for pleasure, with about 75% of adults claiming to have read at least one book during the previous year, according to a 2013 survey. The number of Americans who have not read a book in the past year is estimated to have tripled since 1978, however. For people who do read for pleasure, the format has changed, as about 40% of American adults surveyed said they had read books electronically. Another 2013 survey found that adults age 18-39 who owned e-readers or tablets had read an average of 21 books in the previous year, compared with 13 for people who did not own such a device.
One of my all-time favorites--it's on my keeper shelf! It may surprise you, since it's not a romance, and it's "alternate history"--but I love this author and this story.
More about reading habits:
• A little more than half of all Americans older than 16 visit a library during a year.
• India is the country where people read the most, at an average of more than 10 hours per week.
• More than 80% of Americans age 50-64 say they read the pleasure, which is the highest rate of any age group.
Do these figures shock you? For me, they were a real eye-opener. I was amazed to find out that there were 25% of our population of adults that had NOT read one book in the past year! In the past 35 years, the number of people who have NOT read a book in the past year has tripled. That breaks my heart! And it’s astonishing to me.
If you've never read this book, let me recommend it with all my heart. It's one of those books that, when you finish it, you won't ever forget it. I have 2 copies of it and I never loan out either of them.
The one good thing—if you can call it that—that this survey shows is that on average, 8 more books per year are being read by adults with some kind of electronic device to read them on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my Kindle. But…I read a lot of paperback books, in addition to this. I’d like to know about people like me who have both—an e-reader and the paperbacks all over the house.
What's the best book you've read recently? I'm reading OLDEST LIVING CONFEDERATE WIDOW TELLS ALL by Allan Gurganus right now. It's a one-of-a-kind book--the retelling of a life by the woman who lived it. No, it's not a true story, but it's witty, funny, and poignant--the author is wonderful, and the story is so unique it's hard to put down.
Another favorite of mine is The Outsider by Penelope Williamson. It’s an oldie, but a goodie—and I just discovered it last year, thanks to our own Kathleen Rice Adams. It was so good, in fact, that a movie was made from it.
I’m anxious to hear your thoughts about this survey and if any of this surprises you—then let’s talk good reading. What’s your pick?