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

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posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:21 AM
I am happy to say that I have more to address than I can do right now. I would like to answer some specifics as some of these seem to be the opposing view and I would like to give some of them an honest response.

“80% of people are the ...lowest 80% in IQ”

I don’t think I believe that is totally true. I know a lot of intelligent people who just don’t like to read. That being said, reading does help improve or maintain mental ability over the course of ones lifetime.

“Perhaps people read more in the past because they had more time to do so.”

Probably so with book readers.

“How does this figure into the literacy rate? Does it take into consideration the amount of time people spend on the internet?

No and no. The noted statistics are based upon book sales. It would really be an entirely different thread to discuss positives and negatives of internet versus books.

“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 academic industry.”

True. With traditional teaching and learning books have been the way to go. Newer tools like the internet, video and computer skills have a place but in the grand scheme of things are very new. I do feel though that the ability to read extensively and extract meaning from a book, document, or extensive article is very beneficial for most people.

“Sad but true. Part of this can be blamed on our Educational system.”

I do agree that our educational system does not focus enough on Reading, Writing, Math and Science. These are the basis for functioning in society and the ability to read is essential to almost everything we do.

“There is much to be gained from books vs. blogs, newspapers, magazines etc. In a book there is so much more depth to the story and characters and also time spent working on the piece vs. a 5 paragraph blog post with someone’s opinion...”

Definitely give the credit where due on other media. Anything to continue self improvement. I have to agree though that reading a book is a much more fulfilling pastime. A book versus an article is like scuba diving versus wading on the shore.

“A good strong vocabulary and firm grasp of your own language is pivotal to success in one's adult life IMO.”

Yes. Yes. Yes.

“I do think there's a tendency among book readers to discriminate against other forms of reading without giving the matter much consideration, and I do think that the statistics are somewhat deceptive in that way.”

I actually think that book reader prefer books but cannot see it as a form of discrimination. We all have methods that work best for us. I do agree that the statistics can be deceptive but understand these statistics are about book sales.

“Why are books commonly seen as some sort of accessory to intelligence or intellect? Books can be filled with lies and bias just like anything else. Since this is a conspiracy sight, is it worth mentioning that books are an extremely powerful influence? That influence has been dangerous in molding many psychotic minds. “

Books are seen as an accessory of intellect because intellectual people traditionally read books.
Books are an extremely powerful influence. Good word - powerful. Books are powerful. They are just like any useful tool. You decide what and when to read. You get the results of your efforts.
As far as psychotic goes, I read “Where the Wild Things Are” when I was eight and haven’t been the same since.

“I tend to suspect that someone who bases his psychotic delusions off, say, Catcher in the Rye would be just as psychotic if the book had never been written. “

Nicely put.

”the idea that 80% of families in the US haven't bought a book in the last year seems ridiculous.”

I agree. I hope that there is more reading going on than these statistics tell us.

I am going to make a list of all of the books noted here and will be responding to some posts directly. I’ve just been busy.
I am looking foreword to more posts and correspondence.
Thanks for the responses.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:21 AM
I can say with complete honesty that having read the writings of Ernest Hemmingway changed my life forever, all for the better.

Also have always been a huge fan of Kerouak, London, Hunter Thompson, William Blake, T.S. Eliot, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Robert McCammon and a long list of many others.

Reading is so much better IMO than watching a film (although I love cinema as well)..but when you read you do not have the producer and the director's point of view interfering and conflicting with the story at hand.

Just you and your imagination, and I dont know about anyone else...but my imagination is way more vivid than most.

My contemporary and overall favorite author may sound typical or cheesy....but I happen to love Dean Koontz and everything that he has ever written.

I just finished The Darkest Evening of the Year and it was far I have completed over 30 of his works and have had the pleasure of meeting him twice in person. I even managed to get an autographed quote from the Book of Counted Sorrows....for any other Koontz fans out there you will probably know what I mean.

Reading is fundamental kids

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:34 AM
i live in a community, where everyone reads. This is sad news and shocking about people never reading another book after high school or college.

The public library where i live is reported to be the best in the nation several years running(usa) and we have a independent book store which gets every author you would want to meet to come in for signings and on the other side of our little downtown we have a Barnes and Noble. So in a three block area we have two book stores and the best library money can buy. People read on the train, waiting for their kids at activities, at the park, everywhere. I will be moving to Florida in a couple months and I wonder if it will be difficult to find the same type of experience. It has bee great living here in the suburbs of Chicago in a highly educated neighborhood.

I am amazed by those of you who read at uber are so lucky.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:46 AM
reply to post by warrenb

As I understand it about 30% of the active readers buy about 90% of the books. ( I am trying to find the place where I got that general number, it is in one of 4 writing/publishing books that I own)
You should understand that this figure was purchases and does not count libraries,e-books and other reading sources. But yes, a small portion of our population buys most of the books.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 07:20 AM

Originally posted by VelmaLu
Is someone better read because they read one or two books a year versus someone who reads 100 magazines, or 5,000 web pages?

It depends, doesn't it? Which books, which websites. You could could compare, say someone who reads Plutarch's Lives Of Illustrious Men or Boccaccio's Decameron with someone who is downloading 5000 pages of donkey shows and alieo-sexual roboporn.............

Or somebody who only reads the same three Bronte books over and over with someone who is taking an online chemistry course.

Frankly, most of the junk science, junk religion et al is online. Most websites either have no sources, or user modified content, which is next to useless if you are doing any kind of serious research.

The statistics don't really show us how many people read extensively for their career, but do not read for pleasure. It doesn't not show how many people listen to books on tape. It certainly doesn't demonstrate how many people read a newspaper every day.

I'd be willing to bet that most of the types you just listed are at least occasional book readers.

Books are a dead -- and rightfully should be. They are a one-way communication device, slow, expensive, heavy and wasteful. Browsing a book store to find something to read may be entertaining, but is not the best way to garner information about a topic.

Books are dead to some. But the internet is "dead" to even more humans--they just happen to be humans that don't count as much due to their poverty or non-hip geographical location in the other 1/2 of the planet.

So what is the best way to "gather information" on a topic? If you're going to restore a 71 chevelle, will you find the info you need on line? How serious of a JFK assassination researcher will you be, using only websites and NO books?

As far as books being, um "slow, expensive, heavy and wasteful" goes, how much does your internet connection cost? And it may seem wasteful to store information on the pulp of dead trees, but that waste is also a safety feature:

Books don't crash. They don't require a web connection or batteries. You can read one on a plane when all other electronic devices must be turned off and stowed. you are even allowed to read one in many jails and prisons. Not to many laptops in lockdown.

Once you own a book its yours. No subscription, no connection.


If you look at the vast amount of information on this website alone, the exchange of ideas, the free-flow of topics, you begin to see why books are a thing of the past.

There are very few new titles published every year because the prospect of publishing and marketing a book is extremely expensive, as well as risky. Therefore, many good books never see print because they will not guarantee a return for the publisher. Relying on books for information only perpetuates this exclusionary industry which prevents countless good ideas from seeing print. And, it's not good for the environment.

Reading a book for pleasure is understandable, but to equate that with some sort of intellectual achievement is ridiculous. Many people seek to get their information in more expeditious manner.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 08:21 AM
reply to post by badgerprints

“Sad but true. Part of this can be blamed on our Educational system.”

This is exactly the problem I am having with my 11 year old nephew. His mother is at her wits end with dealing with the study habits that have been, for lack of a better word, deplorable and unacceptable.
I was just talking to my Sister this AM and she had told me that he has the sympathies of his teachers and they had told him when he studies to just look for key words for his homework and to make it a study habit to get his home work done faster?? What "Good" teacher tells her students not to "Read" an assignment?? Read the assignment in it's entirety and then do the home work after the assignment is read and understood.
Now he wavers in all his knowledge, he has some attention problems, but for the most part, he is a good kid, but as a relative of concern for his education, there is little more than I can do other than give him the "Shake Down" when he is at home with his home work.
Hopefully the laziness of the education system will come to an end for the benefit of the child, not because they feel empathetic towards the child..

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:08 AM
Huge fan of the Dark Tower series, love Neil Gaiman (the adult stuff, His kids books are extremely mediocre). Also a fan of Kafka.

On the nonfiction side, I like Jim Marrs, Leonard Susskind (and really, anyone else who writes about the Holographic Principle).

I also read poetry. My favorite contemporary poet is Saul Williams, older school, I like me some Robert Frost.

It's horribly depressing that reading is on the decline. Personally, I do most of my Christmas shopping at Barnes and Noble, so I guess I'm doing my part

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:11 AM
By the way, I would like everyone to find their local independent book store and support them. I think that one of the major reasons that reading has become less popular is the Walmart-ization of book retailing. I remember when the local book seller was a friend of our family and of many in our community. We wanted to support her, and she provided us many hours of enjoyment with her insightful recommendations. Now we have bored clerks and the profits going who knows where when we visit Borders or Barnes and Noble.

Buy locally!

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:52 AM
My mother keeps dropping off books in my house by the box-load. I ususally only read the vampire ones just because. If I'm going to read someone's thoughts, I at least want to enjoy.

People share books, or they read so much online in their spare time they don't get the chance to read the books they do have.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:55 AM

Originally posted by mmariebored
My mother keeps dropping off books in my house by the box-load. I ususally only read the vampire ones just because.

Marie ,if you want a gnarly vampire book then 'Bottomfeeder' by H.B. Fingerman is truly a classic

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:56 AM

Originally posted by pieman
books are a rather poor way of passing information from one person to another, it's a time consuming process for both participants.

Well... NO! It's an excellent way of passing information (Shakespeare, anyone?)

Sure reading can be time consuming but so it learning in general. There is no shortcuts in this.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 10:22 AM
A few pages earlier in the thread someone mentioned that it doesn't make sense to keep books that have already been read. I can understand that point of view and while we donate most paperback books that we buy and 'non-classic' children's books as my children outgrow them, we love to constatntly expand our library with books from our favorite authors or on our favorite subjects, hobby's, etc.

My husband is a creative director for a video game company by day but has been in the comic industry off and on for 20+ years and has recently begun making his comic return. Just as he has to buy all of the new video games that come out so that he can keep up with the competition (or so he says) he also spends a lot of time and money on comics and graphic novels both to see what's being released and to support the work of his friends. He frequently rereads his collections so he would never part with his purchases. I have my Masters in Psychology and gave up my carreer to be a stay at home Mom but still have a passion for the subject. There are always new books coming out that I love to read to try to quench my thirst for knowledge when it comes to human thoughts and behavior.

IMHO, being able to access information via the Internet doesn't replace the feeling of being able to go into your personal library and have access to a variety of topics that you can choose from and then read or loan at your leisure. I mainly use a laptop and sitting on the couch with it while reading something online doesn't come close to the feeling of snuggling up with a good book.


posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 10:35 AM
reply to post by Jemison

reading something online doesn't come close to the feeling of snuggling up with a good book.


And that is why I continue to read the hard copies!!
There is no computer in the world that can create the pictures of my mind during a good and enjoyable read......

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 10:39 AM
reply to post by karl 12

Well I don't really go for violence and I skip over extreme mushiness. There are two things that keep me reading, the romance and the dangling mystery solve at the end, but the middle can't be packed with boring filler either, or I skip to the last pages. I try to avoid is authors who have bloodbaths in their book and say, "Oh but these were 'bad guys'."

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 11:44 AM
I can't believe these statistics, those people are seriously missing out. I have a couple of book cases groaning with the weight of the books. I wish i could get even more but the space they take up is a factor. I read mostly non fiction books though, currently have a phase where i'm reading any book to do with ancient Egypt

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:25 PM
Not surprised, that would explain the ignorance that is spreading in our country. Ignorance is bliss to some I guess.

Who has time to pickup a book when we have reality TV and video games to entertain us?
Could it be by design? After all a stupid population is easily controlled. That would explain why most people do not question what they hear from the MSM. "We have to pass the $700B bailout bill because the man on the TV told me so!"

Here is a great book that I recently finished that I think the ATS crowd would love. I recommend you check it out.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 01:52 PM
Some of these statistics are irrelevant.

70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

Why would they when you have, and other online stores?

70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.

That tells me 70% of books were published TO make profit... not for their content. Plus with the ease of 'stealing' e-books, this does not surprise me.

57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

Some will argue this is due to our brains being "googlized" from high internet usage.

So, if the brain has this ability to remap new functions into low traffic areas of our cortex, are we in fact remapping our brains to be more adept in navigating online spaces? Carr contends that our attention spans are getting shorter and he worries that soon we’ll be unable to make our way through a book or even a moderately long magazine article. Or, if we take the alternate point of view that seems to emerge in the UCLA study, is regular use of Google keeping our mind more limber, regularly exercising the synaptic connections between cortical areas?

reply to post by Erasurehead

I recommend you:The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption by the same author.
Picture it as the "revised" version.

[edit on 18-11-2008 by DavidU]

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 02:47 PM
It would seem like this statistic is in direct proportion with the IQ of the populace. But is it at all suprising? Our children are allowed to use calculators in class and during tests. Who's doing the work?

I have found that certain books grab me and I love reading them. I can't wait to get back to them if I have to put them down. I don't know. I find it so forign to think about not buying or reading a book a month. I ma not be the most learned person here (after rubbing shoulders with some here who I give credit to), but still... To go for a time withot a book...... I can't see it.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 02:51 PM

Originally posted by mmariebored
Well I don't really go for violence..

Ah well Bottomfeeder may not be for you then... Cloud Atlas and the Kiterunner are both good books

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 03:47 PM

Originally posted by BlackOps719
Just you and your imagination, and I dont know about anyone else...but my imagination is way more vivid than most.

My contemporary and overall favorite author may sound typical or cheesy....but I happen to love Dean Koontz and everything that he has ever written.

Dean Koontz is totally one of my guilty pleasures

I feel vaguely soiled sometimes by how uplifting his books are, but that's just me being an intellectual snob. And unlike so many super-prolific authors, I actually think he has improved over time and that his newer books (mostly) are more satisfying than his early books.

And I'm with you on the imagination bit too. Plus, I think it works both ways – I think part of the reason why I have vivid imagination (which is also a problem-solving tool) is that I read so much as a child.

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