Let’s Talk About Books & Reading
We just completed the third week of the spring semester, and as is typical as I begin to talk about writing and reading in classes and asking students questions, I can get a little depressed when I realize how few students are reading books for pleasure these days. With so many distractions such as television, video games, socializing with friends, sports, and other commitments and activities, I decided to conduct my own informal poll on Facebook, something I had never done before.
The question I posed was this: HOW MANY BOOKS DID YOU READ IN 2017?
0-10 OR MORE THAN 11?
I received 143 responses, and the percentages are reflected in the infographic below.
While my poll didn’t have the same questions as the Pew Research Polls, which are broken out and are much more in-depth, I wanted to give it a try anyway. What I didn’t take into account was how many people had read zero books and kept that as a separate question. Perhaps the next poll will reflect reading zero books in a year.
My findings, however, relay some good news, at least, I think so. It shows that people are reading—some more than others for various reasons—but they seem to be reading some books throughout the year.
What made me conduct this poll?
I had read an article from The Atlantic from 2014 called The Decline of the American Book Lover about books and reading, and it prompted me to do my own informal research for this post. As someone who is a strong advocate of reading—and reading a lot of anything that interests you—I became somewhat engrossed in finding out more. Through several sites, I was able to compile the information below about books and reading from the Pew Research Institute, and I have put it together for you in an easy-to-read infographic below.
The Bad News & Good News
The bad news in the Pew Research findings was that 19% of people haven’t visited a Library (such a great resource, you guys!), and 26% of Americans are not reading at all. There was also a decline in e-reading.
The good news from my pols and their polls is that people ARE reading still…and in 2016, they preferred a physical book to reading books electronically. There’s been a 16% surge in children’s books, and on average, people are reading four books in a six-month period. The average number of books read in a year is 12.
At least, that’s what the research is trending toward today.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.