They probably won’t read THIS, either

I know there are bigger things to get wound up over, but my head-shaker of the day comes via Lisa at Books. Lists. Lifean AP poll finding that 1 in 4 adults didn’t read a single book last year. Not one.

I know that some people aren’t readers, but I can’t grasp that concept any more than I can understand people who don’t like chocolate. Granted, this survey only concerned reading books, not other media (periodicals, blogs and websites, instruction manuals, cereal boxes, etc.), but still.

Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn’t read a single book this year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious. (That last item makes sense when you see later in the article that the Bible and religious works are the most popular reading categories.)

The story has some interesting factoids and stats about habits among those who actually do read:

Among those who said they had read books, the median figure with half reading more, half fewer was nine books for women and five for men. The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and up read more than those who are younger. (I think plenty of younger people are reading, but just not books.)

People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books, mostly religious books and romance novels, than people from other regions. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently. (One might assume these people aren’t the ones reading the Bible.)

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives. (My only comment on this finding is…I’ll refrain from comment.)

The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography. Industry experts said that confirms their observation that men tend to prefer nonfiction.

It’s interesting to encounter this on the same day that Booking Through Thursday participants were writing their posts about how family influenced their reading. Tall Paul and I were talking about that, and we think it really is an “indoctrination” process.

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  1. Nine books per year is the median? Per year? I knew I read more than average, but I had no idea how much more. The truth? I read more than nine books most months. When I allow myself to really wallow in books, I can read twenty in a month. I’m quite sure I read something over a hundred books a year.

  2. MaryP – I’m nowhere near your number, and I’m a pretty avid reader. When I have the time for it, I can finish a book in a couple of days, but that’s pretty rare for me now – I probably average around a book a week, though.

    The median of nine works out to less than one book per month, which definitely doesn’t sound like much, does it?