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Old 01-20-2008, 02:34 AM   #1
snookums
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Poll: 1 in 4 U.S. adults didn't read a book in 2007

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/...ts-AP-Poll.php

Some quick stats:

1 in 4 U.S. adults didn't read a book last year
The average person read 4 books
Of the 3 out of 4 who did read the average was 7 books
Men tend to prefer non-fiction
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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That's quite a different result than the ones we've been hearing for some time. I hope this one is actually the accurate one!
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:45 AM   #3
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that doesn't really surprise me...but i wonder what was the cutoff for "adult" in the stats bc college students usually read a lot of books for classes, but not necessarily for pleasure. if they did include adult students, the numbers may be even worse for the general public. i also think that after graduating there is a period of time where people generally don't read much at all bc they are burnt out from school and then pick up reading for pleasure later on.
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Old 01-20-2008, 01:02 PM   #4
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I know that my DH has probably only read 2 or 3 novels in the 28 years I've known him. With the exception of a couple of friends he's not terribly unusual. He reads some non-fiction for pleasure, maybe 2 or 3 books a year. Exact opposite of me who reads voraciously. DH reads but he has to study so much for his career that he has little desire to read during his downtime.
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Old 01-20-2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
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that doesn't really surprise me...but i wonder what was the cutoff for "adult" in the stats bc college students usually read a lot of books for classes, but not necessarily for pleasure. if they did include adult students, the numbers may be even worse for the general public. i also think that after graduating there is a period of time where people generally don't read much at all bc they are burnt out from school and then pick up reading for pleasure later on.
That brings up another point. How good are peoples responses on this sort of thing? I'm a college student in my last semester. If you asked me how many books I've read in the last year, I wouldn't think to include textbooks. I'd also probably forget to count a lot of the non-fiction books I've read. After I forced myself to scrounge my memory for every book I'd read in the last year, I was surprised at how much more it was than I would have initially answered. I think readers like myself have a sort of book amnesia similar to the forgetfulness overeaters exhibit. Just while I am typing I notice a stack of books in the corner I recall reading a few months ago. I'd guess over average readers like myself may undercount our reading.
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Old 01-20-2008, 06:13 PM   #6
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Is there any site that shows how these stats have changed over the last 50-100 years?

It's my guess that not all that many people have ever read a lot. I would also guess that reading peaked in the 1950s and 60s as it seems to me that that's when factors would most contribute to people reading: enough disposable income to actually buy books with enough leisure time to read, plus cable hadn't made a dent yet so tv was limited to (maybe) three networks, total. And, afaik, most people didn't go to movies multiple times during a given week.

Yes, there were and are libraries for the hard-core readers, but I'm talking about those who would read if given the opportunity, but wouldn't necessarily go out of their way to do so.
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Old 01-20-2008, 07:13 PM   #7
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Is there any site that shows how these stats have changed over the last 50-100 years?

It's my guess that not all that many people have ever read a lot. I would also guess that reading peaked in the 1950s and 60s as it seems to me that that's when factors would most contribute to people reading: enough disposable income to actually buy books with enough leisure time to read, plus cable hadn't made a dent yet so tv was limited to (maybe) three networks, total. And, afaik, most people didn't go to movies multiple times during a given week.

Yes, there were and are libraries for the hard-core readers, but I'm talking about those who would read if given the opportunity, but wouldn't necessarily go out of their way to do so.


Don't know, but while searching for that, I found this. It has not much to do with this discussion, but I thought it was interesting.
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:22 PM   #8
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Personally I wouldn't say that students "read" text books. They read portions of them, with the exception of courses in the soft sciences or liberal arts. Of course being an engineer flavors that opinion a great deal.

On the other hand, when I was in college & had to read 50 pages of a "literature" novel each night for a course, my roommate made fun of me because to relax after reading the 50 pages, I would pick up my Science Fiction book & read a while. I figured that I read a conservative 50 books (for pleasure) a year even then.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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Wow. I read a lot of novels while in university for coursework but I hardly ever found time to read for pleasure between my job and school. I went on a reading binge after graduation.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:40 PM   #10
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I just wonder how the decline of the US Library System has influenced how people read. I know our local small twon library has maybe 10% of the books they had when i was growing up. I began using the library when I was about 10/11 years old or so...but I read more "grown up" books, mostly SciFi and non-fiction.

I pretty much never visited the kids section simply because I found the topics and writing trivial and, well, insulting. Even as a kid. I imagine if those were the books I was pointed to then I would not be as much of a reader as I am today.
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:28 PM   #11
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The decline of the libarary system PLUS the rise of the internet. Surely some folks who could read a book are reading text online in their free time instead.
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Old 01-22-2008, 01:09 PM   #12
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I'm not sure a blanket statement about the US library system is accurate. My local system is very good and I've actually been using it more since they added their website with requests, renewals, etc., being able to be done online.

Not to say I'm thrilled with their PC-centric choices for ebooks and audio books, though, but they have added those features without decreasing other services, so far as I can tell.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snookums View Post


Don't know, but while searching for that, I found this. It has not much to do with this discussion, but I thought it was interesting.
I put a couple of links to interesting articles on the subject under current events on the MobileRead wiki. Check the left column for the link.

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Old 01-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #14
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Smile It starts in childhood.

I think a love of books starts in childhood. Perhaps people who read seldom now or not at all, were never introduced to books when they were children. I remember always getting books for birthday's and Christmas every year when I was a child. I have loved books and been an avid reader all my life. I couldn't imagine a world without books. I love to curl up in my armchair and be transported into another world entirely for a couple of hours if I'm lucky. Can't wait to get my CYGen3 and curl up with that and experience reading an eBook for the very first time. I'm expecting great things. Hope I'm not disappointed.
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Old 01-22-2008, 04:36 PM   #15
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I think you are right Maggie May, both my parents read and encouraged myself and my brothers and sister to read. We were enrolled at the local library by time we were 4 years old and encouraged to borrow a book every week. MY 6th grade teacher lamented to my mother that whilst he was pleased that I loved reading so much, he did wish that I would not rush through my schoolwork to get to the bookshelf . I did try, but the lure of that bookshelf was too much. With my own children I have had mixed results, my son wouldn't pick up a book other than connected with his computer. My girls however read quite a lot. But then I married a man who could not read when I met him and it has taken time for him to learn to read...
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