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Old 08-24-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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Percentage of Readers

First, a definition. Readers is like drinkers. I have a glass of wine once or twice a month but I don't call myself a drinker. I would also not call someone who reads a book a year a reader.

With that in mind, and no hard numbers given, what percentage of the population would you consider readers?

When I get on a plane I look around to check out how many readers are on board. It's sometimes one, me, and sometimes three or four. Never more. Look around the terminal in an airport and see how many people are actually reading a book. I see far more people watching the televisions which are in all terminals now.

I know people who buy books for people to see but they don't really read them. Someone picked up a book on my bosses desk and opened it and we all heard the new-book crackle. The boss stuttered and said, "My working copy of that book is at home." Sure, it was.

I would say that no more than 10% of the people in the U.S. are readers. What number would you guess?
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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Among my friends, I would say at least 90% (a few are even writers). The rest of the world? 10% may be generous.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:24 PM   #3
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I guess it depends on the definition of reader.

1. Social Reader - reads only at Starbucks So as to appear literate.

2. The Closet Reader - reads only at home sneaking a chapter when no one else is around.

3. The Bookaholic - they keep books behind sofa cushions, in a baggy in the toilet tank, etc..

If you lump them together then I would say 15-20 percent. If you take out the Charbucks reader then I would say you were in the right ballpark of 10 percent.

Of which 98% are women. I think there are only 26 guys in America that read after college. It seems that women are more prone to hitting the book than men.

Hi I'm Kikar and I am a Bookaholic. and one of the 26 men.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
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Among my friends, I would say at least 90% (a few are even writers). The rest of the world? 10% may be generous.
among my friends, i would say like Lady Fitzgerald, 90% (maybe more actually). the rest of the *world* i don't know, but taking into account countries still in developpement, etc. 10% couls well be accurate. just in the rest of france, surely less than 90% but i would say significantly more than 10%. i'm not good at guessing such things but (perhaps optimistically...) i'd say maybe 60-70%. famous authors in france are like rockstars, they get invited on television and all. then again i may still be extrapolating based on the people i know. but still, i think a significant portion of french people read.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:26 PM   #5
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Hi I'm Kikar and I am a Bookaholic. and one of the 26 men.
Hi Kikar.

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Old 08-24-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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For the US, I've seen numbers along the lines of:
- 33 million people read more than two books a month
- 50 million read less than 10 books a year
Out of a total population of 330-350 million.

So, one could say that 9-10% are heavy readers, and 14-15% are casual readers.
Not sure about the rest since the reports didn't specify. Could be zero. Could be 1-2 books a month. But they make up 75% of the population if we trust the analysts.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by patrickt View Post
When I get on a plane I look around to check out how many readers are on board. It's sometimes one, me, and sometimes three or four. Never more. Look around the terminal in an airport and see how many people are actually reading a book. I see far more people watching the televisions which are in all terminals now.
Planes aren't really a good place for judging this. I'm definitely a "reader" (addict?), but I don't always read while on planes because I get travel-tired in a hurry. I tend to try to sleep or "zone-out" whenever possible while traveling. Then again, maybe I'm the abnormal one here
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:52 PM   #8
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My initial guess would be around 10% as well. However, I know I'm often surprised by people that are readers (and that's excluding social readers). So maybe closer to 15% or even 20% would be more accurate.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
For the US, I've seen numbers along the lines of:
- 33 million people read more than two books a month
- 50 million read less than 10 books a year
Out of a total population of 330-350 million.

So, one could say that 9-10% are heavy readers, and 14-15% are casual readers.
Not sure about the rest since the reports didn't specify. Could be zero. Could be 1-2 books a month. But they make up 75% of the population if we trust the analysts.
where did you get your numbers from? the states recently hit 300 million, probably around 303-305 by now

stop the spread of rumors now! ;[

Last edited by nachtxeule; 08-24-2010 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:15 PM   #10
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Planes aren't really a good place for judging this. I'm definitely a "reader" (addict?), but I don't always read while on planes because I get travel-tired in a hurry. I tend to try to sleep or "zone-out" whenever possible while traveling. Then again, maybe I'm the abnormal one here
nah, i agree with you... travelling is indeed for catching up on some sleep.. especially plane rides going back 3 hours in time... mmmm sleep
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:31 PM   #11
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Planes aren't really a good place for judging this. I'm definitely a "reader" (addict?), but I don't always read while on planes because I get travel-tired in a hurry. I tend to try to sleep or "zone-out" whenever possible while traveling. Then again, maybe I'm the abnormal one here
I try to sleep as much as possible on flights, too. One time, I awoke during a long haul and heard a flight attendant laughingly say to my friend, "Your friend only wakes up for meals." True, lol. I zonk out, then food smells wake me. ... I do read on flights, but only if I can't sleep or it's a short hop.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:34 PM   #12
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I got the numbers from the Forrester research paper quoted around here a few weeks back.
And the US population, (including undocumenteds) is well past 330 million. 300 million was old news by the time the media got hysterical over it. (The new cesus numbers are due any day now.)

So, no; no rumormongering here.
Merely quoting analysts, as I pointed out in my comment.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:32 PM   #13
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I suffer from motion sickness (car, boat, plane, elevators, etc) so travel time is extremely frustrating. But not reading is better than the alternative...for everybody.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:51 PM   #14
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Out in public, I would say no more than 10% of the people on my train car have their nose in a book or a newspaper. Probably another 20% are listening to ipods. The remaining 70% are doing nothing. It absolutely astounds me. They are just sitting there. Granted, it is only a 20 minute ride, but I am reading while I am waiting for the train, and on the train. I would read walking from the train to work, except there are too many people around. I cannot stand to have nothing to do. I recently put episodes of True Blood (recorded from TV) on my ipod. I forgot my knitting pattern today, and I don't have my kindle. So I will watch I Smell a Rat tonight.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:03 PM   #15
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Here's an article quoting an ipsos poll, which has the data on-line, but I'm not a subscriber. The article doesn't give much indication of the distribution amongst the two-thirds-plus of the population that read, although the median seems to be about half a dozen books per year.

The percentage of people that like to read, and the percentage that you see reading when travelling, may well be different!
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