Wednesday, February 2

Apparently Nobody Reads Anymore...

and that really distresses me. A year or so ago, the Associated Press did a survey that found one in four (that's 25%) Americans didn't read any books in the previous year. One in four. I'm shocked! Seriously. I couldn't go one day without reading a book of some sort and the DH, who isn't nearly as avid as I, reads probably one book every month to two months. Those who answered the survey said they read nine books last year (women) or five books last year (men).

I think I read over 150 books in 2010.

A little better news? A revenue forecast I just saw predicts that more than $2.5 billion will be spent on ebooks by obviously some people are reading. A lot.

So who is reading? Women and pensioners in the West and MidWest. Which is good, since I'm a romance author, because my base of readers is female...and since I write about towns/areas in the south/midwest I'm hoping those areas will appeal to those already reading...and maybe I'll bring in a few more non-readers.

As I said, I read every day. I love to read, to get lost in the world created by authors. My genre of course to read (and to write) is romance. I like knowing that all of the trials and tribulations the characters go through will end on a happy note. Nothing bugs me more than a book (or a movie) where the good guys lose and the bad guys win. Maybe that is what turns off readers: they have expectations that aren't being met.

I'm really just flummoxed about the fact that 25% of people aren't reading. At all. Are they too busy? (and how can you be too busy???) Were they turned off from reading by a classmate or teacher? Have they simply not found a genre of work that they like to use as an escape? What do we need to do to get them reading?


  1. I put the blame firmly on parents. Don't let kids zonk out in front of video games - give them books and teach them the joy early on.

  2. A lot of people don't enjoy reading because they read so slowly, moving their lips, reading every word. It's tedium to them.

    I can't imagine it, though. I'm like you. I read a book every day.

  3. Christi, we read all the time with bebe - for just that reason. Sure, she watches a little television or plays toddler games, but books are a huge part of her life. Hope she keeps the joy of reading!

    I know how difficult reading is for a lot of people, Liz, and I wish someone could have helped them at an early age so that reading didn't become tedious.

  4. All my children love to read. Hubby doesn't read for enjoyment. I remember one day early in our marriage he asked me "Why don't you do something fun?" He was surprised to learn that reading was fun for me. I'm glad the kiddies took after me that way. Some people just don't like it.

  5. I've thought a lot about this, as I have teen grandsons, who read occasionally, dragon stuff, but still reading. They are gamers and that takes precedence. I've always read, but my grown daughters don't. One does very seldom. With hard jobs, they basically settle down to veg. TV, games, all suck away from reading. Away from my writing, working up my backlist now, I read more non-fiction history. I think that to those who have not been taught to see images as they read, to let their imagination flow, to see pictures, reading is just words on paper. So IMHO, it's a connection with the words to make images. There's a gap in reading just words and feeling, imagining stories inside our heads.

  6. 150 books in 2010? You are awesome! I read all the time, but not at that pace. But then, I have a book in every room and read at least 3 books at a time. But still...150...incredible!

  7. Cait, good point. And I think that is a huge part of it because if we don't "see" anything as we read it would be boring.

    Em, I do read fast. Sometimes I wish I could read slower so I could savor the words a little more. :)

  8. Kristi~
    I don't read as much as I used to because I don't seem to have the time, and I don't see as well as I used to. Need glasses!

  9. Part of the problem lies with parents, but I think a lot of the problem also lies with how kids are taught in our schools. Many of them seem to come out of school with the idea that reading is a chore, just like algebra or P.E. Many of those who learn to love reading do so by picking out the books they enjoy, rather than what's assigned them in class. Maybe we should lighten up on the "classics" and get the kids into lighter, more entertaining reading early on: If they don't learn to love it, they're never going to try those classic again, anyway.

  10. I think there was a lost generation of readers who didn't have the choices when they were younger. Honestly, I think Harry Potter opened those floodgats.And I honestly believe that readers are bred at a young age. Like you are doing with Bebe, my daughters were brought up around books. I read to them each night and when they got older they were allowed to stay up a little later if they were reading.

    If they find a book they love, they are unstoppable. My husband rarely read books but rectently I got him hooked on the Monk books and Burn Notice. For him, if has preconceived idea of who the charcters already are, he can get into them. Whatever works, I say.

    At work, we've passed around the Percy Jackson books, Hunger Games Trilogy..and we're in our early 20's to mid 50's...but it gives us something to talk about that bridges the generations.