With the continued impact of eBooks, the growth of audiobooks, and the ever-present time-gobble of TV, movies, video games and the Internet, is it any surprise that fewer adults are buying and reading good-ole print?
A new study by the Pew Research Center states that “seven-in-ten American adults (72%) have read a book within the past year, whether in whole or in part and in any format, according to a survey conducted in March and April. That figure has fallen from 79% who said in 2011 they had read a book in the previous year, but is statistically in line with survey findings starting in 2012.”
It’s a but stunning to realize that, according to this report, only 72% of American adults report reading a book in the past year — in any format. That figure is down from 79% in 2011, a disturbing trend to say the least when your business is selling books. It’s also shameful, in my opinion, that possibly 28% of Americans have not read a single book in the past 12 months. I don’t know if this includes comic books, which absolutely count.
But there’s good news in that research report, fo sho. Eighty percent of young adults – defined as ages 18-29 in this survey —have read a book in the past 12 months, which is miles above the 71% of ages 30 to 49, and the 685 of those 50 to 64. That’s right: I believe the children are our future.
The data reveal a somewhat surprising generational pattern in book reading. Young adults – those ages 18 to 29 – are more likely than their elders to have read a book in the past 12 months. Fully 80% of young adults read a book, compared with 71% of those ages 30 to 49, 68% of those 50 to 64 and 69% of those 65 and older. Cue the Whitney Houston, folks.
The report states that audio book consumption has remained stable at 12% of Americans at all ages. This is a surprise to us here at Empty Set, as audiobook sales growth is a big-ass chunk of our business. We put out ALIVE, TITLE FIGHT and THE REPORTER audiobooks in the last twelve months and have seen strong sales.
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