I sometimes think I am whistling as I pass the graveyard outside the library but ... maybe not. The reliable Pew Research Center reports that eBook readers read more books per year than those who only read pBooks. There are many other interesting per centages in the report, all boding well for authors.
Secondly, this chart supplied by Gallup shows that readership for books has increased substantially over the last six decades. Yes, these are broad figures and I do not pretend that each and every one of these folk are reading Kafka. However, if they are reading, they might come to Kafka.
books in a stack (a stack of books)
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E-book Consumers Read More Books Says Pew Report
By Andrew Albanese
The results of a recent survey from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Projectshow that e-book consumers are reading over a third more books than their print-only customers. According to “The Rise of E-Reading,” released yesterday, the average reader of e-books says he or she has read 24 books in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by non-e-book consumers. For device owners, those who own dedicated e-book readers (such as the original Kindle or Nook) also stood out, having read an average of 24 books in the previous year vs. 16 books by those who do not own dedicated e-readers.
The number of American adults who say they have read an e-book also rose to 21%, compared to 17% reported in December, 2011. The jump comes following a holiday season that saw a spike in the ownership of both tablet computers and dedicated e-readers. Notably, while device ownership is surging, e-book consumption is still occurring on a range of screens. Of those who said they have read an e-book in the last 12 months, 42% said they have read an e-book on a computer; 41% on a dedicated e-book reader; 29% have read on their cell phone; and 23% on their tablet.
Meanwhile, print is still very much in the mix—some 88% of those who read an e-book in the past year also reported reading a printed book, and overall, in the past year, 72% of adults reported reading a print book, compared to the 21% who say they read an e-book (or 11% who listened to an audiobook). In “head-to-head competition,” respondents said they preferred e-books to print books when they want “speedy access and portability,” but preferred print for “reading to children” and sharing books with others—understandable since most e-book platforms do not allow for sharing.
The Next Time Someone Says the Internet Killed Reading Books, Show Them This Chart
by Alexis Madrigal
Remember the good old days when everyone read really good books, like, maybe in the post-war years when everyone appreciated a good use of the semi-colon? Everyone's favorite book was by Faulkner or Woolf or Roth. We were a civilized civilization. This was before the Internet and cable television, and so people had these, like, wholly different desires and attention spans. They just craved, craved, craved the erudition and cultivation of our literary kings and queens.
Well, that time never existed. Check out these stats from Gallup surveys. In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, that number had shot up to 47 percent. I couldn't find a more recent number, but I think it's fair to say that reading probably hasn't declined to the horrific levels of the 1950s.
All this to say: our collective memory of past is astoundingly inaccurate. Not only has the number of people reading not declined precipitously, it's actually gone up since the perceived golden age of American letters.