If anyone reads books, it’s probably you guys. But according to some recently-gathered (and frankly startling) statistics, you’re a dying breed. To wit:
• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
I can relate to that last one — I buy lots of books (or check them out from the library) but a significant portion of them I only get about halfway through — or less, if they don’t hold my interest. But that stat about 42% of college grads never reading another book? That’s a little frightening. One thing I’m not certain about, and isn’t mentioned in these statistics, is how they stack up over time — but I’ll bet you money that more than 42% of college grads kept reading books in the 1950s, 60s, 70s.
So what’s to blame? A shift in popular entertainment? The dominance of the screen over the printed page? Are books just less interesting than they used to be? Or are we, as a society, getting … dumber?
What do you think?
Who Reads Books?