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Give Me a Book Any Day

Surveys about reading habits of Americans are inconsistent, since the questions keep changing...perhaps leaning over backwards to find people who read actual books!

Consider this data from multiple surveys:

  • In 1937, 29% of adults said they were reading a book
  • In 1955, 17% of adults said they were reading a book
  • In 1978, 55% of adults said they had a read a book in the previous 6 months
  • In 1998, 70% of adults said they had read a novel, a short story, a poem, or a play in the previous 12 months
  • In 2002, 46.7% of adults said they had read a work of creative literature in the previous 12 months
  • IN 2006, 43% of adults said they had read a newspaper the day before
  • In 2007, 73% of adults said they had a read a book of some kind, not excluding those read for school or work
Yet, think about these statistics within the context of a statement in the introduction to the report To Read or Not to Read (NEA, 2007): "Poor reading skills correlate heavily with lack of employment, lower wages, and fewer opportunities for advancement."

Given current times, I expect that more than 80% of adults have read an e-mail or web-page within the past 6 months. Or the NEA statement in the future probably will read: "Poor texting and twittering skills correlate heavily with lack of employment, lower wages, and fewer opportunities for advancement!"

Sorry no problem being posed...just a lot of concerns as I still love to hold and read books.

Source: C. Crain's "Twilight of the Books," The New Yorker, Dec. 24/31, 2007, p. 134