Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hey, that cup is half full!

I was interested to read a summary of a new Harris Poll, asking people about their reading habits, particularly with reference to their use of e-readers: Harris Interactive: Harris Polls One in Six Americans Now Use E-Reader with One in Six Likely to Purchase in Next Six Months.
Its sub-header is "e-Reader users likely to both read and purchase more books than non-users." What interests me most isn't the numbers about e-readers per se, but what they tell us about reading and purchasing habits generally, with breakdowns not only by gender, but also by region, generations (identified as Matures (66+), Baby Boomers (47-65), Gen X (35-65-- which must be a typo), and Echo Boomers (18-34), and genre of books read).

See, there's always so much attention on the high percentage of people who don't read, that it surprised me to see how many people do still read books fairly regularly. Answering the question of how many books you purchased in the last year, 12% in 2010 and 9% in 2011 said more than 21 books (which was apparently the pollster's ceiling), and 11% in 2010 and 10% in 2011 said 11-20. (The figures are a bit better for books read, as opposed to purchased.) Note, though, that these are not averages (or even means) of numbers of books read per person, since the poll doesn't count books per person past 21. (Which is to say, the many extreme bookaholics among us aren't skewing the figures.)

Considering all the competition for people's time and attention, these figures cheer me up. 

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