Thursday, September 21, 2023

Why Aren’t More Books Read?


Books can comfort, challenge, complete, or change us. So why does something that powerful get ignored by so many people?  

Think about it.   

Books can entertain or educate us. They can inspire or enlighten us. That’s powerful stuff.   

But tens of millions of adults in America do not read even one book in a given year. Tens of millions more read just one or two books in that same time period. 


Is It A Matter Of Money? Nope. books are free all over the place- from libraries and schools to senior center and churches. One can find free e-books online or a treasure trove of titles for as little as 99 cents each. There are used bookstore sales, estate sales, and garage sales where one can pay 50 cents or a buck for a hardcover book. Heck, even if you buy a new paperback on Amazon, it likely sells for no more than $15. If you spend just 50 cents a day, you can buy 12 new books per year at that rate.  

Is It A Matter Of Time? Nope. Americans stream dozens of hours of shows weekly. They surf online content endlessly. They have time to read some books.  

Is It Literacy? Ten percent of America is illiterate, so that’s a huge problem. We must address that, if we hope to not only get more books read, but more people employed and self-sufficient. 

Are There No Good Books? There are thousands of new books being published daily, and tens of millions of old titles available at Amazon. I think you can find some worthwhile books.  

Don’t Know Which Book To Read? Ask a friend or relative. Ask a librarian or bookstore owner for a recommendation. Search online lists. Look at book reviews and best-seller lists. Sit in a bookstore and read book descriptions until you find one that speaks to you. Consult book award winners and finalists.  

Don’t Have Hands? No worries. Try audiobooks or use voice-activated software to turn the pages of a digital book. Besides, how many people lack hands? A tiny, tiny fraction of the population. You get my point. There are no more excuses for why Americans don’t read more books.  

Failure Of Education System? Yes, there are bad teachers, unsafe schools, and impoverished students, but even crappy schools have books and encourage reading.  

Bad Parenting? Certainly, parents can play a big role in encouraging kids to read and can nurture a good habit at a young age. A parent can model good reading habits and make reading seem important, fun, and interesting. But, we can’t avoid books just because we lacked parenting input.  

Had A Bad Book Experience? If you have a bad date, you don’t swear off humans, do you? If you had a lousy book, get over it, and try another. And another. And another.  

Not Social Enough? Take a break from FB, drinking, BBQ’s, and phone calls. Read in solitude. That’s the beauty of a book- its experience requires no one but you, and yet with a book you never feel alone.  

Competing Content? Yes, the Internet has plenty of competing sources for consumption, from articles and social media posts to news, websites, podcasts and movies. But books deserve their time, too. Most books can be read in four to six hours. a little as 10 minutes a day set aside yields one book read per month.  

Learning Disorder? There are tutors who can help people with ADHD, Dyslexia, or other learning challenges to thrive. Get diagnosed, get helped. No excuses.  

Poor Vision? May I suggest audiobooks, large print, or braille? 

Brain Injury? Ok, sure, the handful of people with brain tumors or injuries get a free pass -- until they recover. Then it’s time to read, read, read.  

Low IQ? You may be dumb, but you can still read, and you’ll get smarter by reading more books.  

Live In A Book Desert? Books are everywhere online, so even if you lack access to a bookstore or library, seek out digital books or order paper ones online. You are never more than a click away from a book.  

Depression? Well, mental illness could improve if one finds the right books, and therapy or medication (or all three).  

So, why aren’t more books read? If we can address any or all of the above excuses, we will see a dramatic rise in book sales and in the number or people reading a higher number of books.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

-Charles Francis Potter

 “If a book is well written, I always find it too short.”

-Jane Austen

 “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable spelled out is a spark.”

-Victor Hugo

 “Books are the mirrors of the soul.”

-Virginia Woolf 

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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years 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, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, 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:  

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