Reading statistics today illustrate the declining book readership in America. As a writer, you need to be conscious of those facts and use them to propel your book marketing.
There are real highs and lows in these reading statistics. Women read more, both in print and ebooks. Almost 75% of the population read at least one book during the year. More typically, readers read at least 5 books. Ebooks are growing in popularity, and are read on both tablets/kindles and phones. People tend not to read classics, rather opting for lighter-weight fiction.
There are several experts who feel that the drop in readership can be partially due to the quality of the manuscripts being published today. Large publishers are almost afraid to be innovative because of a possible financial hit. They tend to publish the tried-and-true because of that. Self-publishers often are not edited professionally. Because of this, they may not even realize the problems within their manuscripts. All of these issues tend to repel readers. We need to be publishing the best product we can to keep our industry strong.
Interestingly, in some of the statistics I gathered, preparing for this infographic, prolific reading seemed to be aligned with higher education and higher income levels. This could also be a case of the chicken and the egg. Does the reading occur because of the higher education/higher income? Or does education/income create an atmosphere for reading?
I don’t think that “reading” will disappear, but as a writer/editor/publisher, it concerns me to see this decline. A literate population is critical for the health of a nation, economically, politically, and socially. Reading affects so much of a person’s psyche, honing critical thinking and encouraging problem solving by the development of their imagination. But, we all know that.
The book industry took a huge hit in the mid-1990s as it reinvented itself with wholesalers, large and small publishers, as well as book delivery systems (ebooks, print books). Looking historically at book readership, you can see a distinct decline in readership over the past 2 decades. So where is your audience? How will you reach them?
Statistics came from Pew Research, US Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, National Institute of Literacy, Huffington Post, and Read Faster, Reading Stats.