This street survey makes for depressing reading.
In 2018, Pew Research Center found that 24% of Americans said they hadn’t read a book in any format—print, electronic or audio—in the previous year. There are some surprising statistics in their report, including that: Older Americans are a bit more likely than their younger counterparts not to have read a book. Some 28% of adults ages 50 and older have not read a book in the past year, compared with 20% of adults under 50.
Another survey, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealed that Americans spend 16.8 minutes a day reading and 166.2 minutes watching television.
Searching around, I couldn’t find any statistics about how many words a day people read. I speculate that anyone connected to the internet might well read more words, even if they’re not in book form than someone did from the pre-computer age.
Book readers consume books in different ways these days, with audiobooks increasingly popular. Apparently, there was a 12% rise in audiobook downloads in 2017, according to this article.
It’s good that people are still consuming books, albeit through earbuds, but once again, it’s indicative of lost skills—the concentration, devotion of time and imagination it takes to read a book for yourself—so many things are done for people by devices in the name of convenience.
How long will it be, before books come in syringes that you can inject into your brain?
For my own part, I get through about 300 novels and 75 non-fiction books a year, mainly on art, philosophy, psychology and local history—partly as research for my crime novels set in Cornwall. I read for two hours on most days. I’ve always bucked trends!
How about you?
Do your friends, acquaintances, work colleagues and family members read regularly?