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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 @ 04:02 PM
reply to post by americandingbat

There is a reason why he has sold over 200 million copies world wide, the man can write an excellent book. Period.

I am known to read everything from Shakespear to Jung to Cicero...but at the end of the day nothing keeps me entertained or as you said gives me more of a hopeful feeling than the Koontz novel that I bought at Right Aid for $11.99.

His stories always have morals, a clear defined picture of good versus evil. He always incorporates such lessons as humility and kindness and his main characters always shine with empathy and human awareness. Not to mention in almost every story he adds the token canine character who is wise beyond belief and ultimately a hero to the main character.

His books are thrilling and uplifting, educational and entertaining. Forget the intellectual superiority that literary snobs would have you buy into, they are mostly jealous that Koontz has written more best sellers than almost every author to date. They would have you believe that because millions of people enjoy his work then by default it must be fictional trash. Last time I checked, that was called success!!

You never hear people criticize Steven Spielberg because millions of people go see his films

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 05:15 PM
Well, I wouldn't say that I am an avid reader - but I do read one or two at least every few months. It really depends on what catches my eye, or what happens to come highly recommended. I didn't buy a book last year, but that's because I've been trying to work my way through some of the EB Great Works collection my father left me when he passed. So far I've only gotten through The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and touched upon some Socrates and Aristotle. I may pick up Virgil to get a better grasp on the personality behind Dante's guide.

I'm currently reading through War and Peace, because it seems to be regarded by many as the Mt. Everest of literature - but I decided to read an abridged version simply because that version of the book I have is about 50 years old, well traveled, yellowed - water stained pages, and has that intoxicating musty old book smell. It's the little things like that which really help craft the experience, I think.

Still trying to track down a decent copy of Thomas Payne's Rights of Man/Age of Reason and am looking forward to Michael Crichton's next book which will be published posthumously next year sometime.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 07:20 PM
Those statistics are about correct. Could be even more extreme =o.

People are not reading or buying books anymore because there's the internet which provides more information, albeit not all factual, but still information.

Look at now, were on ATS reading this thread, browsing ATS, and checking emails and such. Who has time to sit down and read a book when there are more opportunities on the internet?

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 07:34 PM
reply to post by Lasheic

The Divine Comedy and Purgatory are excellent. Dante Allegory wrote of things that would make Steven King hide in the closet and like cry like a young school girl

He was the original master of horror. When I read The Divine Comedy the first time around I had trouble getting to sleep afterward.

[edit on 11/18/08 by BlackOps719]

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 07:38 PM

Originally posted by DavidU

Some of these statistics are irrelevant.

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.

As stated earlier in the thread, the statistics were based on book publishing information. The fact that Amazon sells a decent portion of online books is a factor that is not included in the statistic about bookstore visitors. It is actually surmised and probably a given that the bulk of books bought online are by heavy or consistent readers who know what they are looking for. This would have an effect on the stated percentage of bookstore visitors but not as much as you might think. Personally I know many who browse bookstores and end up buying more online.
I personally have bought some 150 to 175 books online in the last 2 years and I love going to bookstores as well.

As far as 70% of books being published to make profit, the number is actually higher. A great deal of the university presses have traditionally lost money but published purely for academic purposes. This has changed with the advent of computers and software to make publishing a more streamlined process and many university presses are doing quite well. I don't have those figures available but a guess would be below 15 percent of books sold.
For the other portion of published books that are sold. Yes. Definitely for profit. If books were not a commercial enterprise then we would not be able to buy them so readily and inexpensively. The fact that they are sold for profit in no way negates the benefits of reading.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 09:27 PM
I, too, am saddened by this. Partially because reading gives me so much pleasure, and I cannot imagine a life without books. I felt a lot of admiration towards authors whose books provided an escape from what was a rather dismal and unhappy childhood. This provided me the impetus to write myself. I wanted to do the same for potential readers, that others had done before, for me. To give an escape, a dream — a short time away from a harsh reality.

It has been more work than I had ever imagined. I occasionally flirted with the idea of writing while serving in the military, thinking it would be a grand adventure! It's a headache most of all, quite honestly. It's a lot of research, writing and rewriting chapters (including alternative plots), while trying to be original. But still worth it, really.

But as much as I love to write to give back what I received, money never hurts, either. People need to buy books! Lots and lots of them.

By the way, something I really enjoyed reading in my early twenties, was a series of books called Great Books of the Western World by Encyclopædia Britannica. It contained 54 volumes at the time, but I think that number has expanded to around 60. It had a reading plan that spanned years, and covered a diverse array of categories, such as poetry, drama, history, science, philosophy, and so on. I lost those years and years ago, but I might get them again, it's a collection really worth having. Keep reading people! And buy books! Lots of them..

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 10:46 PM
reply to post by Lucid Lunacy

The Dragonlance Chronicles are outstanding. As far as Arena in the Magic the Gathering series, well let's just say after over 10 years of reading that book (and yes I do re-read all of my books) I probably need a new copy. I can't even begin to imagine a life without books. I used to go through a standard 600 page book in less than a day. So figure 8+ hours a day for work, 7 hours for sleep and the rest of the time either on the internet, playing games or reading a book. My only problem with it right now, is that i'm waiting on some of my favorite authors to finish up their new books. Which is why I always re-read my books. Some of my favorites i've read dozens of times. However my wife on the other hand, in almost 5 years together, i've never seen her pick up a book once. Kind of strange to me, but oh well.

posted on Nov, 18 2008 @ 10:53 PM
I've worked in the retail and wholesale book business for over 14 years so I thought I would throw in my observations.

The book business is one of the most cut-throat businesses around. The top 2 business opened are restautants and bookstore. The most closed are restaurants and bookstores.

The introduction of the internet and secure purchasing has hurt the brick-and-motar stores. Barnes and Noble and Borders own various mall bookstores and have been closing them down while opening the big box stores. Your Waldenbooks and B. Daltons are disappearing. The Walmarts and Costcos are getting better pricing from the publishers and are getting larger quantities than the booksellers.

The smaller independent bookstores are disappearing. They can't do the discouting that the bigger stores can. The wholesaler I worked for decided to just sell to schools and an independent store I worked for went back to teacher supplies.

The outlook isn't looking any better. Oprah, who is a goddess to booksellers everywhere, recently gave away a new favorite thing....a Kimbal e-book reader from Amazon. Sony also has a decent e-book reader.

The only bright spot is that book buyers still like the feel of a book in their hands.

Favorite books?
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
CandyFreak by Steve Almond
Brain-Droppings by George Carlin (Wasn't he just here?)

Something Wicked this Way Comes and Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Star Wars Republic Commando series by Karen Traviss
And finally anything by Issac Asimov

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 06:20 AM
reply to post by Anonymous ATS

You make a good point about book lovers wanting to hold the books in their hands.
A good book, a favorite that has been yours for some time takes on a personality. Worn bindings, bent pages tattered edges and smooth corners become part of the appeal. They feel familiar and give a sense of comfort that a screen will never have.
I used to read books from my grandfathers shelves when I was young. He was a teacher all of his adult life and had the best books. The first novel I read was Man O War (about the famous racehorse). The book must have been 20 years old then. The second real (adult) book I read was "Fail Safe" which was about nuclear war. It was deep reading for a ten year old in 1977. I read them all. My grandparents living room by that old shelf of books was where I felt most at home.
I always have regretted not being there when my grandfather passed away. I was in Korea and couldn't get home. By the time I did grandpa and the books were gone. The house was empty when I went by and saw those empty shelves it was like he'd died all over again. I could still smell the books on the shelves and standing there I missed the books almost as much as grandpa because he taught me the importance of reading. I will always miss grandpas house.
The next best thing to grandpas house is a good old library.
Good libraries that have very old books have a smell and a feel of something that is almost alive. It is like walking through a room full of quiet benevolent ghosts that are patiently waiting for their turn to tell the story again.
I hope I never see the day that books are not valued as something important and meaningful.

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 06:47 AM
Freedom to read what you want should be cherished here in the West-if it was up to the thought police of certain organised religious sects/cults then most bookshops (and certain publications) would be up in flames:

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 06:53 AM
Just to weigh in, as a professional writer.

There's a clear dumbing down occurring in US society at large. Its reflected in many ways - from the constant remaking of other country's films - through to the 'paint-by-numbers' shallow stories and plots on TV.
Various posters have suggested that people are perhaps swapping one medium for another. However, suggesting that a 60 or 90 minute visual display of something, can equal the intellectual benefit of actively reading a book, is to do a disservice to the concept of 'books.'
I love cinema - but I'm aware that a book is not comparable to a film - or TV - on any level. The one is primarily passive - observing visuals, the other requires intellectual focus, attention, imagination. Effort, in other words.

As the stats show, the majority of US citizens seem unwilling or unable to apply themselves. You can link the various medical stats - the obesity ones, for instance, to further show this slide into indolent hedonism.
Whats the answer? Read more. Have more kids than the ignorant ones - and teach THEM to read more. Someone mentioned Idiocracy - its worth seeing, as a cutting satire of the very near future...

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 07:01 AM

Originally posted by die_another_day
Those statistics are about correct. Could be even more extreme =o.

People are not reading or buying books anymore because there's the internet which provides more information, albeit not all factual, but still information.

Look at now, were on ATS reading this thread, browsing ATS, and checking emails and such. Who has time to sit down and read a book when there are more opportunities on the internet?

I agree. I used to buy more books, but honestly since I got really into the net I very rarely if ever purchase a book, and usually only something of a spiritual nature (that I will want to read again and again). Perhaps its a form of ADD in the new age, but just about every topic imaginable is available online, and if you don't like one site or article in 2 seconds you can switch to another.

I frequently research a topic of interest, or read non-fictional stories/accounts for entertainment, and those are topics I would have purchased books on 10 years ago. But not anymore.

[edit on 19-11-2008 by Sonya610]

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 08:01 AM

Originally posted by karl 12
Freedom to read what you want should be cherished here in the West-if it was up to the thought police of certain organised religious sects/cults then most bookshops (and certain publications) would be up in flames:

I read one of the links you posted and it's pretty clear, extremists are mentally challenged.

In our time, the girls preen and dress in a way that attracts attention to ensnare the young man whose heart and religion are weak. The girl begins to devise schemes, and she plays the part of the wolf… She tries to obtain a luxury watch, a beautiful bag, an evening gown, or even the newest model of mobile phone. And then what?! She goes to hell, as has happened to young people in the past. What is the meaning of these ideas, which lead to the collapse of our entire society? Why don't the girls think of always wearing the veil to stop the corruption? Why don't they seek to become women of value, instead of being easy prey in the mouths of all?"

Anyway, I don't believe restriction ever helped anything, only created more "criminals".

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 10:07 AM
reading is very very important as you put it your mind is a powerful thing but now comes the answer for 80%. Now a days most common people will either watch the tube (tv) or if they see or hear about a book they wait for the movie. personally i love reading book i read about 2 a week.

posted on Nov, 19 2008 @ 10:18 AM
reply to post by badgerprints

I find that hard to believe, as we at this home read allot. We even have a library. When we go out to garage sales, we find a tons of books that are very good reading, and cheap. Maybe if the book stores who sell books and tell us if we buy them, bring down the prices of them we would buy more from them. I bet its the marketing department that gives us the figure of 80 percent.

posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 03:57 PM
Surely the notion that a decline in book reading is leading to the breakdown of society is over-simplified and a huge generalisation.
These days, with the internet and advancents in other types of media people are experiencing culture in different ways. Why should reading a series of well written internet articles not be as beneficial as spending a couple of hours with your head in a book?

posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 07:37 PM
I would have to say 70 to 80% sounds about correct among my friends an associates, I find it hard to hold a conversation on an intellectual subject with most. As far as my best friends we can click on a variety of topics, but the normal Joe, well I'll just think around them???

posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 07:55 PM
That is sad. I just got back from buying 6 books in 15 minutes. When I got home I was so excited I didn't know where to start. It is the best feeling in the world and nothing can out do that feeling for me.

posted on Nov, 26 2008 @ 09:36 PM

Originally posted by SlyFox_79
That is sad. I just got back from buying 6 books in 15 minutes. When I got home I was so excited I didn't know where to start. It is the best feeling in the world and nothing can out do that feeling for me.

I would have to say the same, While others get exited about football games, you could throw me in a book store and I would be like a kid in a candy store.

posted on Jan, 13 2009 @ 09:07 PM
Since the topic title sites a drop in reading among families, thought I'd through in a couple of these links as well.

'Baby Einstein' Videos Ineffective, Study Finds

Videos as a baby brain drain

TV viewing is bad for young children (and probably not great for the rest of us). Even so-called 'brain-building' dvds like the Baby Einstein series can do more harm than good. Save your money on 'em and read to your kids instead.

EDIT: no one read to me, that's why i can't spell

[edit on 13-1-2009 by Vault-D]

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