A lot of the advice you get as a writer is discouraging: Writing a book is hard work. Publishers won’t read your manuscript. Self-published books don’t sell. Bookstores won’t stock your books. Nobody reads anymore.
There’s an element of truth in all those disheartening claims.
Except the last one.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that nobody reads anymore. It’s usually attributed to all the other distractions competing for former readers’ time: TV, movies, music, video games, social media, and so on and so on.
But, the fact is, according to the Pew Research Center, 73% of adults in the United States read a book in the past 12 months. And that hasn’t changed much over the past five years. Most of them—65%—read a printed book, 28% read an ebook, and 14% listened to an audiobook. Not only are people reading, they’re reading (and listening to) multiple formats (which is why that adds up to 107%).
How much Americans read is also holding steady. Readers read an average of 12 books a year, with the “typical” reader getting through four books. Obviously, readers like me are pushing up the average—in the past year I’ve read somewhere around 60 or 70 books.
There’s no doubt people are still reading.
I only wish they were reading my books.