# Scary Statistics About Book Reading

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Scary statistics about book reading
July 13, 2006 in General by jc | 1 comment
I stumbled on Rich Burridge’s weblog post about book statistics, it has some scary numbers :

Who is Reading Books (and who is not)

One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.

58% and 42% ?!?!? how is that possible !

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Trackback link: http://www.jcmartin.org/scary-statistics-about-book-reading/trackback/ Peter on August 15, 2010 at 9:28 pm
First, statistics often hide facts. It’s not intentional, but you have to know the “population” distribution to find what the statistics really mean.

Her, for example, the 58% represents part of about 250,000,000 people; the 42% represents part of about 100,000,000 people. Ignore the fact that 42 + 58 = 100 – they are like apples and oranges, except that 100 does not mean “fruit”.

More meaningful is that 80% of american adults want to publish a book that sells – now THAT one is not compatible with either the 58% or the 42%

As for 57% of books not being read to completion… Well, just watch someone reading a report – 100% of the readers read the “executive summary”, 80% read the summaries as well and less than 50% read the body, and only about 10% read the supplementary material (appendices and so on). The same percentages seem to hold for articles and presentations, fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, websites, blogs….

Mind you, I’ve always wondered about the literacy stats – if they’re anywhere near accurate, then it says that the educators are as much like this distribution as the...