14 February 2006

Intellectwals are Us

Para Publishing has compiled some chilling statistics about that endangered beast called the "reading public." But look on the bright side, if you've made it to page 19 of a book, you can proudly count yourself as one of America's intellectual elite. You can also get into this elite club if you bought a single new book last year. A few of the stats:

One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.
--Jerrold Jenkins.

Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.

63% of adults report purchasing at least one book during the previous three-month period. (Most were probably exaggerating).
--Bookselling This Week, November 10, 1997.

53% read fiction, 43% nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery & Suspense, 19%.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

Of the top fifty books, fiction outsells nonfiction about 60% to 40%. Fiction peaks in July at 70% but nonfiction reaches almost 50% in December.
--USA Today, April 30, 1999.

55% of fiction is bought by women; 45% by men.
--Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, page 13.

Thirty percent of Americans surveyed by the Harris Poll say they would rather read a book than do anything else; twenty-one percent said watching TV is their favorite activity. That's the good news. The bad news is that only 13 percent selected "spending time with family.
--Publishers Weekly Email Daily, July 9, 1998.

Each day, people in the US spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

70% of Americans haven't visited a bookstore in five (5) years.
--Michael Levine, June 2002

Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought.
--2001 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing by the Book Industry Study Group

People reduced their time reading between 1996 and 2001 to 2.1 hours/month.
2001: per capita spending on books per month was $7.18.
--Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2003

Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
--David Godine, Publisher.

The time Americans spend reading books.
1996: 123 hours
2001: 109 hours
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

1996 to 2001
Consumer spending on book rose 16%
Unit sales dropped 6%
(Readers spend more and purchased fewer books)
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

2001: Households purchasing at least one book 56.5%
--Veronis, Suhler & Associates investment bankers

The mean age of book buyers
1997: Age 15-39: 26.5% of the books bought
2001: Age 15-39: 20.8% of the books bought

1997: Age over 55: 33.7% of the books bought.
2001: Age over 55: 44.1% of the books bought
--Ipsos NPD reported in Publishers Weekly, January 6, 2003


CyberKitten said...

Interesting statistics... though I think that some of them did contradict each other. Anyway....

I bought 10 books last week... I'm guessing that makes me unusual... Then again maybe its just that American's don't like reading much?

donna said...

Americans don't like much of anything that requires actual thought...

Karlo said...

10 Books! You've used up the intellectual energy of an entire American village! Careful. You'll upset the balance.

The Rambling Taoist said...

Gad! I knew I was a strange bird, but I guess I didn't realize HOW strange. I'm currently reading 5 books. In the past year, I've probably purchased 20-30 books and checked as many out of the library. When my wife & I moved in December, we moved more book boxes than anything else and this after donating about half of our collection to various nonprofits.

Karlo said...

You're definitely an outlier!

CyberKitten said...

Karlo said: 10 Books! You've used up the intellectual energy of an entire American village! Careful. You'll upset the balance.

It's not that unusual. I think my record might be 27 bought in a single day from one shop. With my girlfriends books that made 43. The shop owner was very happy to see us as you can expect.

ATM I think I have around 800 fiction books I haven't read yet... and at least 250 non-fiction... You can guess that I'm running out of space in my house but I hate giving books away.

Auguste said...

Why do none of your links actually go to the statistics cited, including the first link which goes to a nonexistent web site?

Auguste said...

Ah, I see now that the links were taken from the Para Publishing article. Still smells a little funny.

Karlo said...

I think that they merely linked to the organizations that put out the original stats. You're right though. It would be nice to have the actual links to the stats.