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Old 01-16-2009, 12:52 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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American Adults Reading More Literature

For the first time in 25 years, Americans are reading more! The adults are, anyway. When including novels, short stories, plays and poems there was an increase of about 7% over the last six years. The results come from he National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.
Quote:
At a time of immense cultural pessimism, the NEA is pleased to announce some important good news. Literary reading has risen in the U.S. for the first time in a quarter century," says NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "This dramatic turnaround shows that the many programs now focused on reading, including our own Big Read, are working. Cultural decline is not inevitable
I wonder if this fits the pattern in our own MobileRead community?

* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
* Do you read more because of e-books?
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?

Personally, I can say an emphatic yes to all three!

Check out the full article for a full scoop, including a summary of other key findings Book Business Magazine.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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I would also say yes. I don't have downtime between books now. I always have something to read and I hear about new books here all the time.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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1) Probably not - I have much less bookshelf space now so I don't buy books nearly as much as I used to.
2) eBooks (and especially the eInk Readers) definitely help, but they did not offset the stop on buying paper books. Yet, anyway.
3) Indirectly. It guided me to Calibre which I use to create eBooks to read.
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:00 PM   #4
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Wow, this is good news. Now, if we can get kids to read more which would result in adults that read more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
* Do you read more because of e-books?
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?
I would probably answer no to all three of these.

What I have been doing is reading more "variety" because of mobile read. Most of that is more of the classics.

BOb
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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Yes on all three counts.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:17 PM   #6
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Yes to all three. Perhaps MR should get federal funding
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post

* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
* Do you read more because of e-books?
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?

Yes, to all three, and I second Bob's remark about variety.

Because of the books uploaded here, I am rediscovering books and authors I hadn't thought about in many years.

I am also discovering the difference between a well written book, and a best seller book. Unfortunately, very few of todays top ten will stand the test of time like classics of the early 20th century.

Could that be part of the problems the publishers are experiencing today?

Having most of my books in one device, at my fingertips makes it very easy to read whatever I choose, wherever I am.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:30 PM   #8
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No to all three. But I'm also not American

I'm reading about the same amount as I did in 2002, and in 1992 and 1982 for that matter...

MR has introduced me to new authors that I may not have heard about otherwise, though.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:56 PM   #9
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1. I'm probably not reading as much as I did in 2002, but much more than I've been reading since 2003 (circumstances changed dramatically that year). I jumped form 4-5 books/year to 20+ in the last 9 months or so, i.e., since I got my Sony PRS-505.
2. Absolutely. Being able to carry a whole library and not to worry about damaging the books (dirt, scratches, bends, dog-ears, etc) makes all the difference. Also, with the advent of e-books, I can find more of the literature I enjoy (mysteries).
3. Not at all, but it's a great place to find the latest news about e-readers and useful hints.
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:42 PM   #10
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In my case it is a HUGE yes to all three questions.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:08 PM   #11
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I read an article about a similar study done by the same organization a couple of years ago. I was not impressed, because their criteria for what constitutes "reading" seemed ridiculously limited to me. It was limited to novels, short stories, plays, and poetry. It didn't include nonfiction or periodicals. There is also no information about how their data was collected. Telephone surveys disproportionately pull in results from high-income, high-education households, and do not include households that do not have landline telephone service. How did they survey people who do not speak English well enough to complete the survey? Did they use a relay service to talk to deaf or hard of hearing people? Over a million Americans are legally blind--did they count braille and audio books the same as print books?

Is choosing to read a newspaper instead of a novel a symptom of cultural decline? How about going to a professional production of a play rather than reading it? I hardly think so.

I'm legally blind, and I also have a pervasive developmental disability. Despite this, I am a media sponge. Last year, I would estimate that I spent an average of 2 hours a week watching television or other video material, and most of the rest of my free time listening to or reading books or periodicals.

* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
In 2002, I was still adjusting to my declining visual ability and working out alternative means of accessing books. Now that more options have become available to me, and I am increasingly comfortable using them, I read more.
* Do you read more because of e-books?
As a multiply-disabled person, electronic access to books has been wonderful. I started beta-testing the downloadable audio book service from NLS (http://loc.gov/nls) in October 2006 and my book-reading rate jumped dramatically. Now that I have a portable device that lets me read any ebook as a large print book, I anticipate a drop in audio-reading and an increase in visual reading. With ebooks, I don't have the accessibility problems or transportation (to bookstore or library) problems I've had with physical format books.
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?
I've been a member for about a month, so it's hard to say.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:15 PM   #12
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No on all three to me - I'm actually reading slightly less than I did in 2002, since I have less free time.

Although that still translates into double digits every month, so I don't think I'm impacting the numbers too badly!
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:17 PM   #13
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I think this is great news. Especially since they indicate the most rapid increases were in the young adults (18-24). Maybe this is the Harry Potter factor.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:07 PM   #14
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* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
Yes to novels, no to research papers and notes. Yes overall.
* Do you read more because of e-books?
Yes (I can read more on trains etc. now and it's a godsend)
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?
Yes. It provides a lot of my reading Anytime Sony feels like letting me register my PRS-500 and buy books they can feel free to do so; I won't object.
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fledchen View Post
I read an article about a similar study done by the same organization a couple of years ago. I was not impressed, because their criteria for what constitutes "reading" seemed ridiculously limited to me. It was limited to novels, short stories, plays, and poetry. It didn't include nonfiction or periodicals.
That may well be the case although this report clearly says that their research reveals that Americans are reading more "literature". This clearly would not include nonfiction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
* Are you reading more than you did in 2002?
* Do you read more because of e-books?
* Do you read more because of MobileRead.com?
  • I don't think I'm reading more than I did in 2002. In 2004, I starting keeping track of the books that I read. I vary from 8 to 20 books per month, completing about 120-150 books each year. I don't think the number of books has changed much in the past few years.
  • Since I'm not reading more, then "because of e-books" doesn't apply.
  • Since I'm not reading more, "because of MobileRead.com" doesn't apply.
But, the characteristics of what I'm reading have changed since I bought my Kindle in February 2008.
  • I'm buying books much sooner after their first publication than before. I tend to avoid hardback books because of the cost and the size/weight. So, I would delay purchasing a book until the paperback edition was available. If I was really very eager to read a book before the paperback was out, I'd borrow it from the library rather than purchasing it. Now, with e-books, I just buy a book when I want it. The electronic version of a hardback is exactly the same "size" as the electronic version of a paperback, though maybe not cheaper.
  • I'm reading more classics. I can definitely attribute this to both e-books and to MobileRead. The MobileRead Download Guide also contributes to this change.
  • I'm reading independently published books for the first time. Again, both e-books and MobileRead are influential in this change. I've become aware of books and authors that I would never have known about and probably would not have taken a chance on.
  • I acquired more books in 2008 than in previous years. This is not totally attributable to e-books since I resumed book swapping and have been receiving lots of books in the mail. But I've also taken most of the free e-books that I've run across -- from TOR, from Amazon.com, from Random House, from Baen, and of course from MobileRead.
So, while the number of books has not changed substantially, the characteristics have. I've delved into genres that I previously ignored. I've discovered authors that I had never heard of before.

Keep it up, MobileRead.
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