From the Newsstand

Survey Says: People Are Reading

By posted at 5:07 pm on April 9, 2008 0

Here’s news. In a new survey conducted by polling firm Harris, “over one-third of Americans read more than ten books in typical year.” As regulars on the literature-is-a-dying-art beat, we know that this flies in the face of countless other surveys which have found that the typical American home contains just six books, all of which are used as doorstops.

To pull a couple such surveys at random from Google, a National Endowment for the Arts study “Reading at Risk” (PDF) found that in 2002 only 56.6% of Americans had read any book at all that year, while the percentage having read a work of “literature” was just 46.7%. An AP-Ipsos poll last year found that one in four hadn’t read any books over the prior year (though presumably three out of four had).

To compare apples and apples, Harris finds that 91% of Americans read a book over the last year, though of those, only 27% read “literature.”

Can anything be made of these surveys other than that they are a little silly?

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