The majority of Americans have not read a single book this past year, claims a survey of 2003 Americans by WordsRated.com. This is a disgrace. It’s a five-alarm fire that needs to be extinguished.
Because America is a growing nation of 337
million people, we still sell a ton of books, but it is sad and crazy to see
how many people do not read books.
The survey results are sobering:
* Over 16 percent of surveyed adults have not read a single book in the last five years!
* One in nine adults have not read any books this past decade.
* 51.57% of US adults did not finish one book this past year.
To be clear, this is not necessarily indicative of illiteracy running rampant. People can read. They choose not to read books. Still, some 30 million Americans are illiterate and sentenced to living a deprived life. That still needs to be fixed.
Others struggle with learning and reading disabilities, and poor eye vision, but still, this is a tiny fragment of our population.
English proficiency is probably a big problem, given our heavy immigrant population, but they can still read books in their native language if ESL is not embraced.
Is it economics? In some cases, yes. Some can’t afford Internet access or a reading device, though kindles are dirt cheap and most welfare families that can’t afford things seem to have access to a computer or smart phone. Libraries offer access to free books and many websites offer free digital books or access to 99-cent e-books.
There is strong evidence of a reading gap amongst races and
wealth levels when it comes to our children. Time magazine recently reported
the following: “In 2019, even before the pandemic upended instruction,
only 35% of fourth-graders met the standards for reading proficiency set
by the National Assessment of
Educational Progress, an even lower number than in 2017. Only 21% of
low-income students (measured by whether they qualify for free school
lunch), 18% of Black students, and 23% Hispanic students can be
considered on track for reading by fourth grade”
Too many people are just not reading books, and those that do read books, do not read many.
Who is to blame?
* Education system
* Societal values
* Competition from audio-visual content
* Obsession with social media
What is the solution?
* Public campaigns to encourage reading
* Handing out free books and library cards
* Holding social events at libraries and bookstores
* Having a government reading stipend of a hundred bucks per person
* Getting famous and successful people to discuss the impact of books on their lives
* Having volunteers go door-to-door and discuss
the importance of books and identify resources to access free books and reading
Despite all of this, some one billion books were sold in the United States last year. The sales mainly come from a small core of the population that reads multiple books in a year.
Publishers and authors are merely marketing to those who already read books, rather then reaching out to those who normally don’t buy books. I can’t blame them for reaching out to where there is a market, but imagine how much bigger the market would be if we each helped to expand it?
Bookstores are the temples of book lovers. It is one religion that we must all ascribe to. If we don’t convert illiterates or inspire the literates, society loses in an incalculable way.
Please help Make America Read Again!
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at email@example.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.