80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

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posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 04:46 AM
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I am an AVID reader.
I read an average of 3 books a week. I started reading novels at age 10. I have done an honest estimate of the number of books I've read since I was 10 yeas old and come up with approximately 3600 books. It only takes me about 3 to 4 hours to read the average 280 page novel. I average about 80 pages an hour and it is more like watching the sentences than actively reading the words. I'm something of a book freak. Needless to say I believe reading is very important.
It makes me sad to add the following information:

" The following statistics about book publishing and reading were found on www.parapub.com,

1/3 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.
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.
(Source: Jerold Jenkins, www.JenkinsGroupInc.com)

53 percent read fiction, 43 percent read nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery and suspense, at 19 percent.
55 percent of fiction is bought by women, 45 percent by men.
(Source: Publishers Weekly)

About 120,000 books are published each year in the U.S.
(Source: www.bookwire.com)

A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies.
A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies.
(Source: Authors Guild, www.authorsguild.org

The consensus is that we as a nation (USA) are becoming less literate rather than more. I just can't really imagine a life without books, but most of our population does it.

I have asked people that I know and think highly of why they don't read. The predominant answer is usually "Why should I?" I used to give reasons like education, personal growth ect. but it never seemed to have any real effect. It has bothered me for a long time.

Now I have a new answer.
The average published writer spends about 8 months (estimated from many sources) writing a book. Wether it is fact,fiction, adventure, romance, history, biography autobiograpy,how-too, science... no matter what... somebody spent 2/3rds of a year of thought,effort and personal drive into that book. Many of those books are a culmination of a lifetime of writing and years of research. Include rewrites and editing and I believe a year would be a very low actual time investment from the average writer. So lets just give it a year of effort as a nice even number.
Having read 3600 books myself. I can honestly say that I've had the benefit of 3600 years worth of other peoples efforts.
Think about that. 50 lifetimes of creativity, thought, emotions, wisdom, dreams, experiences. Let that sink in for a few .

Are most of us here on ATS nonreaders or readers?

Give me your thoughts on this if you like. Reasons why and why not are welcome. List your favorites if you like.
I'm looking forward to an interesting thread. Please add your favorites. Especially good books that we might be interested here on ATS if you've read them and think they rate a nod.
For starters:
I think my favorite writer at this point has to be Neil Stevenson. His Baroque Cycle books were great but Cryptonomicon gets my vote his best.
My favorite book recently has to be "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman.
My all time favorites are "The Killer" Angels by Michael Sharra
"Enders Game" By Orson Scott Card
and "On Writing-a Memoir of the Craft"
by Stephen King.
I encourage you readers out there to try them out. I will use your replies to make a list of some of my prospective future reads as well.

I'm only 41. If I keep it up, maybe I can get in another 50 lifetimes.
Is that a good enough reason to read?




posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 04:52 AM
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80% of people are the ...lowest 80% in IQ

Not much to comment on other than "your right"



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:17 AM
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I don't think this issue is limited to America either. I wouldn't be surprised if there was very similar statistic in Britain too.

I think it's a complicated issue to be honest. I think generally, there is less reading but whereas book reading is down, I think other forms of reading material are also up. Even light internet users must read thousands of words a day, whether it's blogs, large forums, emails, on-line news &c. Whilst I enjoy a good book, I'm reluctant to privilege books proper over other forms of writing/typing - that something comes on tangible pages is no real guarantee of worth or quality.

Also, spare time is a finite thing, people only have so much of it that they can spend in the ways they'd like to. With each passing decade, there are more and more alternatives to spending that time. I'm not convinced that in previous decades or centuries that if computer games consoles or cinema/DVDs were an alternative to books that they wouldn't be taken up so readily instead of books. Perhaps people read books more in the past not because of some perceived inherent value but simply because there was so little by way of alternatives?

Slightly off-topic: I'm another big fan of Neal Stephenson and Neil Gaiman too. If you liked the Baroque Cycle and haven't read it, you might like Susanna Clarke's 'Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell', a similar period piece that deals with history 'not quite as it was'.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:21 AM
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This is a sad state of affairs. No wonder society is such a mess. I think many people are just too tired due to their working lives to find the time. It would be interesting to compare different countries.

[edit on 17-11-2008 by Nineteen]



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:25 AM
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reply to post by badgerprints
 


well I think it's sad that many people don't read, I've heard the saying, "well i don't have enough time." I am a bookwrom as well, although I cannot read as fast as you but i can read one book in a week. I've been reading since the age of 3 and will never stop reading. i cannot tell you how many books i have read since I started reading but i am sure it's up there. Good news for you though all 3 of my kids do read, my son is like me and reads at night, and at school. He loves books, which I am thankful for, my middle child reads at home, and my youngest is sort of like her Dad, and reads only to learn, not for pleasure. So I assure you that some people on this site are reading!!



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:36 AM
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Its the future, and it definitely not only US. Cable TV, video games, internet, reality shows,malls and many more leave no time for a book. Add to it "out of fashion" factor - when you heard/saw interview with famous author lately?
Book reading is not going to be extinct, but it is not mainstream. Nothing to do about it. Sad, but as i said - 21st century. As long as you can read though, i see no reason to be worried by this. You can't force them, they cannot force you. Plus: Sometimes ignorance is a bliss.
P.S. Ever saw "idiocracy" movie? Sums things up nicely.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:38 AM
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Originally posted by badgerprints
I am an AVID reader.

I average about 80 pages an hour


80 PPH hot damn, you are like the Lamborghini of readers!


I read a lot every day, but most of it is on forums like ATS


I think the fact that there is as avid of readers as yourself should counter-balance this issue
...(that was an awkward sentence
)



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:39 AM
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Yeah,i think its just a progression,alot of people probably read online instead,but i still prefer a good physical book as opposed to an ebook or whatever for some reason...



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:40 AM
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Books are great, I love a good story.

But I must admit I haven't read that much lately since getting addicted to the internet haha. I read so much on the internet from articles to full stories etc. Even a few comics lol! And I never was into comics!?

I haven't read a book for a while but I am still reading everyday




[edit on 17-11-2008 by _Phoenix_]



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:46 AM
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This isent really new news.

I visit Barnes & Noble or Borders at least once a month and I can read a good sized novel in 2 - 3 days. he bright side is that everytime I go to B&N or Borders the place is packed so reading is still somewhat popular.

Think about all the focus on "The March" by E L Doctorow or J K Rowling and "Harry Potter" ... some books and authors do get extensive media coverage.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:51 AM
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List your favorites if you like.
I'm looking forward to an interesting thread. Please add your favorites. Especially good books that we might be interested here on ATS if you've read them and think they rate a nod.


Ender's Game
Ender's Shadow
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
The Hatchet
Dragon Lance Chronicles (Autumn, Spring, Winter)

many many I am not remembering...

Bhagavad Gita translated by Ghandi

and I doubt anyone here has read it?...

Magic The Gathering : Arena


Based off the card game (very loosely). Was the first book. Was amazing!

[edit on 17-11-2008 by Lucid Lunacy]



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 05:57 AM
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Originally posted by _Phoenix_
Books are great, I love a good story.

But I must admit I haven't read that much lately since getting addicted to the internet haha. I read so much on the internet from articles to full stories etc. Even a few comics lol! And I never was into comics!?

I haven't read a book for a while but I am still reading everyday




[edit on 17-11-2008 by _Phoenix_]



yeah....

how's this study figure the literacy rate when it doesn't take into consideration the amount that people read on the internet?

-

if i download an e-book... I will print it out and punch holes.. binder it.. then spend like 4 days on the porch reading it..
so much better than staring at a screen inside for days.

wait.. isn't that what i do anyway.. doh.


-



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 06:18 AM
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The lack of of literary knowledge also makes for a boring majority of people.

I read a lot. I make time. I read during my lunch break, in the tub, in bed...I read an average of three to four novels per week. I'm lucky in that my current partner also likes to read, so we often discuss what we read. It's FUN to have something to talk about - Right now we are reading the Forge of God by Greg Bear ( Which I have read several times and is one of my all time favorites )

When we have children we will both do everything we can to encourage reading in them. Mainly by showing them that just like videogames ( something we also spend a lot of time doing toegther ), DVDS and the internet that reading is a form of entertainment. Most kids today see reading as a chore, I find that sad.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 06:36 AM
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books are a rather poor way of passing information from one person to another, it's a time consuming process for both participants. because of this people have become very efficient at passing information using the printed word. the people that are particularly skillful at writing are most read and those that are particularly good at absorbing are promoted to the top of the acidemic industry.

other media is newer and so it is less developed. at the moment the visual media are far more popular for entertainment purposes and in time the ever developing academic visual specialisations develop, the printed word will see further decline.

i don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 07:11 AM
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That is truely shocking and sad. My husband and I are avid readers and are constantly buying books for ourselves and our four daughters. We could open up our own bookstore! I never thought about the fact that some people DON'T read or buy books so really I'm stunned.

Funny that you mentioned Neil as I brought him up in another thread about a week ago. He's a close friend of my husbands and while I adore him as a person and love the childrens books that he's written I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I have never read any of his adult books. My husband is the comic/graphic novel lover/reader/writer/artist in the family while I'm more of the "Can You Keep a Secret" type of reader. I also love a good mystery but nothing having to do with sci fi.

Jemison



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 07:16 AM
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reply to post by Jemison
 


Neil's adult books are amazing


I have read a couple and they are fantastic.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 07:24 AM
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reply to post by badgerprints
 


I know what you mean about "watching the sentences". That's how it is with me - as long as it's well written. I used to read a minimum of three books a day. I challenged myself about 10 years ago and read one book a day, every day, for six months. (that was not easy, but well worth it)

Living a 4 hour drive from the nearest English book retailer has been hell, but I manage. Amazon for the most part, but whenever I take a trip to Tokyo or abroad I come back with a few used books in my carry-on (and usually several boxes of books set to arrive by mail). I try to savour them a bit more, because I know they've got to last. I limit myself to one English book a week.


I read those statistics... and I just can't wrap my head around them. 1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives? That's just beyond sad. Why anyone would choose to live their life like that is beyond me.



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 07:54 AM
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reply to post by Lucid Lunacy
 





Neil's adult books are amazing


Did he write one a few years ago called American Gods or something like that? I remember he sent my husband an advanced copy and unlike most of my husbands collectable books I actually know which bookcase that's in. Is that one that you would recommend?

Again, I'm not into Sci Fi or fantasy world stuff and I believe that's mainly what Neil does, isn't it? I love "The day I swapped my Dad for two goldfish" and "The Wolves in the Walls".


Jemison



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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There have always been books in my home. I can't imagine life without them. When my mom passed away a few years ago we cleaned out her house and there were tons of books that we donated to the local library.

I grew up reading and being read to. I used to read to my younger sisters and brother and then to my own children . Both of my children have a love for reading, as do their children, my brothers and sisters and their children. Readers will create more readers.

Unfortunately, I have to set aside blocks of time for reading as I don't have enough time in the day to do as much as I would like. I am not as fast a reader as the OP, but I can read a 400-500 page book in a day.

I love the Kay Scarpeta series by Patricia Cornwel and often re-read these. It's like visiting with old friends. Reading has been an, escape from the realities of my own life. I can solve crimes, have adventures in exotic places, or enter the worlds that only exist in the minds of authors like Steven King.

IMHO there are no substitue for books!



posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 08:26 AM
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Originally posted by Jemison

Did he write one a few years ago called American Gods or something like that? I remember he sent my husband an advanced copy and unlike most of my husbands collectable books I actually know which bookcase that's in. Is that one that you would recommend?

Again, I'm not into Sci Fi or fantasy world stuff and I believe that's mainly what Neil does, isn't it? I love "The day I swapped my Dad for two goldfish" and "The Wolves in the Walls".


Jemison


I'd recommend American Gods myself. It's a great book and quite different from a lot of the work he's normally associated with. There's quite a bit of 'mystery' involved in it too. In a sense, it's probably his most grown-up novel.

[edit on 17-11-2008 by Merriman Weir]





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