Do People Still Read?

“People just don’t read books anymore.”

I was walking down South St. with a friend, and my legs had stopped moving. Atlantic Books was utterly empty. Abandoned. Immediately, I pulled out my smart-phone and – attempting unsuccessfully to guard it from the rain – I googled “Atlantic Books”. The whole chain went under a year ago, apparently while I was buried alive in some used bookstore somewhere. It may sound like an extreme overreaction, but I began to panic. How did I miss this? Who will sell books down the shore? Is B&N next? I’m all for indie-shops and second-hand, but they have to come from somewhere.

“What’s wrong?” my friend asked.

“I didn’t realize Atlantic Books closed down,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said, “People just don’t read books anymore.”

Is he right, do people not read books anymore? After I graduate with my degree in Writing Arts, I’m going for Library Science. I’m going to spend my life writing and caring for books.. or at least, I thought I was. Can I still do that if only a few select others care about them, as well?

My friend later clarified to me that he meant only paper books. But whether he meant people don’t read anything anymore, or people only use e-readers, the fact is it’s just not true.

The Pew Research Center found in April, 2012, that “80% of Americans 16 and older say they read at least occasionally for pleasure.” USC Dornsife in conjunction with the LA Times also concluded in April, 2012, that 86% of Californians who owned e-readers still read physical books, and 4 out of every 5 Californians had read a book for leisure in the past month from the date of the survey. Oh, and people must still be heading to their local libraries for paper books, because the majority of US citizens aren’t aware that you can take out e-books now from most locations.

The e-reader is a fantastic technological and social leap, which is increasing in popularity. But paper books aren’t going away quite yet. The important thing is, whether you’re reading from a page or a screen, people are still reading.


3 responses to “Do People Still Read?

  • jaclynholroyd

    I have wondered the same thing at times. Have people stopped reading books? I just couldn’t take it if this was true. I really liked that you had linked statistics in your post. This made it easy to see where you got your facts from. I had just found out recently that libraries are now lending books to you through the e-reader. I just haven’t gotten around to figuring out how to get lent these e-reader books from my library though.

  • Jackson Baird

    It sure seems that people have just stopped reading nowadays, which is a worrisome thing for our culture. However, if what you’re saying is true, then the future looks a little brighter than anticipated. It’s nice to see that reading isn’t going away in our society. Interesting post, and very informative!

  • arnold53

    Not to long ago I experienced the same situation with my boyfriend. We were driving somewhere near the Cherry Hill area and saw a huge going out of business sign, we pulled into the parking lot and it was Borders. I couldnt believe it. A few weeks after that my boyfriend went and bought a Nook Color. He thought is was the coolest thing that he can get almost any book he wanted with just one click. He also had games and other fun things on his Nook. Are e readers really taking over?

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