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Friday, February 7, 2020

Books Everywhere! But Where Are The Readers?


Image result for readers images


Imagine books being available everywhere, online, in stores and libraries, and on wheels.  Well, 2020 is shaping up to be a year for greater access to more books to more people.

Let’s look at where things stand these days.

First, books are sold all over the place. Aside from bookstores – and the number of indie bookstores has grown for nine straight years – Amazon makes all books available all the time. There are many sites that sell books, including some author and publisher sites.  Non-bookstores sell books, from big box like Costco, Wal-Mart, and Target to gift shops, campus stores, museum shops, and newsstands. I hope this continues to grow.

Second, books are available for free at tens of thousands of public libraries across the nation and tens of thousands of public and private school libraries. Online, library patrons can access free e-books.  There are also often book giveaways online, where authors or publishers want to use the free book as a loss leader for consumers to buy something else.  Some authors and publishers will make a new book available for free for just a few days, so the e-book promotes word-of-mouth-induced sales of other versions of the book, such as print or audio.

But many parts of the country remain book deserts, where a bookstore or library are many miles away from where residents live. To the rescue?  Bookmobiles!

A report in 2017 from the www.libguides.ala.org, said: “According to the most currently available report from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, about six percent of public libraries had one or more bookmobile outlets, with a total of 659 bookmobiles delivering library services in the U.S.”

However, there were as many as 1125 bookmobiles in the U.S., back in 1991.  Kentucky, Ohio, and California are the states with the most book mobiles.

So, is this the best of times for books?

No, but things have been steadily improving this past decade. There used to be more bookstores – indies and chains.  Libraries have had their funding attacked by stingy states and the feds.  The percentage of adults reading books – and the average number of books read – has been slowly declining.  High school graduation rates and literacy rates need a bump forward. The competing distractions of online content, games, streaming, and social media challenges the time available for book reading.

But if you want to read a book, luckily books are available everywhere, for free or a fee. Enjoy your next book.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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