The news gets better. The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project studied e-reading in the U.S. Among its findings:
*A fifth of American adults have read an e-book in the past year.
*The average reader of e-books has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer.
*30% of those who read e-content say they now spend more time reading, and owners of tablets and e-book readers particularly stand out as reading more now.
*80% of Americans age 16 and older say they read at least occasionally for pleasure.
Does all this good news have you wondering when the other bookend will drop?
In a section of the report called "The General Reading Habits of Americans,"
Pew reveals that 19 percent of respondents aged sixteen and over said they hadn't read a single book in any format over the previous twelve months. As the report puts it, "If this figure is accurate, that means more than 50 million Americans don't read books at all."
"While it’s encouraging that some people are reading more, the nation cannot afford to continue losing readers," said American Library Association president Molly Raphael.
Writers can't afford to lose potential readers, either.
How do we account for the non-readers? Certainly, long work hours, short attention spans, family demands, dyslexia, and vision problems get some of the blame. In addition, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 14.5 percent of Americans are illiterate. (The most recent results date from 2003.)
How's that for good news/bad news? Thirty-six percent of American's read for pleasure every day or almost every day, yet another 14.5 percent can't read at the level considered necessary for everyday activities and employment.
If you have the time and temperament to serve as a literacy volunteer, contact ProLiteracy to find a program near you.
Do you know a reluctant reader? Please watch this video featuring best-selling authors James Patterson and Rick Riordan. Note that non-fiction is a gateway to reading for many kids, particularly for boys.
Patterson founded readkiddoread.com, a website of book recommendations to tempt reluctant readers.
How have you encouraged the reluctant readers in your life. What tips/strategies worked for you?