There are a growing number of people who simply don’t read books anymore. There are no specific reasons why this happens, some are forced to read books in English class and just don’t read anymore. Others don’t read books, but read news articles and online blogs, but not books. why is this the case?
TGI consumer research Kantar Media published in 2019 suggests that only 51% of adults in the UK read at least one book in the last year. Not only is this a decrease from 56% the previous year, but it also means that 49% – essentially half – of adults in the UK have not read a single book in 12 months complete.
Pew Research Center suggests that US citizens are reading far more books, with only 27% of Americans saying they haven’t read a book in 2019, but the Pew research pool was small, surveying only a few thousand people and not does not represent what is actually happening in the United States.
“The share of Americans who read for pleasure on any given day,” data buff Christopher Ingraham explain in the Washington Post, “has fallen more than 30% since 2004”. His figures are based on materials taken from the latest US time use survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “In 2004,” Ingraham continues, “about 28 percent of Americans ages 15 and older read for pleasure on any given day. Last year, the figure was about 19 percent.
According to an article by Maclean’s magazine of Jonathon Gatehouse, “the United States is invaded by a wave of anti-science and anti-intellectual thought”. Polls in the United States have revealed that:
- Only 28% of Americans read 11 or more books in a year, and 28% proudly admit to not having read a single one;
- 42% still believe that all life on Earth was created by God and not by evolution;
- 51% reject the scientific assessment that the universe began with a “big bang” 14 billion years ago and that our planet has existed for more than 4 billion years;
- only 33% think scientists are right to say that global warming is “man-made”, while the majority see it as just a recurring natural development.
As David Denby pointed out in an essay in the New Yorker“millions of children (pre-teens) have read the Harry Potter books, The Lord of the Rings, and other fantasy novels. But when they reach 12 or 13, they often stop reading seriously. The boys turn to sports or computer games, the girls to friendship in all its harrowing mysteries and its satisfactions of favor and exclusion. . . Teenage time spent on screens has increased to the point that it occupies many young lives.
Denby warns that “if the rest of us give up reading books without a fight, we will regret it, we will even be ashamed as the culture empties.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.