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News: Americans reading less

I can just see writers (including bad ones), publishers, and agent everywhere just cringing…

From article:

• In 2002, only 52 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24, the college years, read a book voluntarily, down from 59 percent in 1992.

• Money spent on books, adjusted for inflation, dropped 14 percent from 1985 to 2005 and has fallen dramatically since the mid-1990s.

• The number of adults with bachelor’s degrees and “proficient in reading prose” dropped from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003.

Also:

The report emphasizes the social benefits of reading: “Literary readers” are more likely to exercise, visit art museums, keep up with current events, vote in presidential elections and perform volunteer work.

“This should explode the notion that reading is somehow a passive activity,” Gioia said. “Reading creates people who are more active by any measure. … People who don’t read, who spend more of their time watching TV or on the Internet, playing video games, seem to be significantly more passive.”

Gioia called the decline in reading “perhaps the most important socio-economic issue in the United States,” and called for changes “in the way we’re educating kids, especially in high school and college. We need to reconnect reading with pleasure and enlightenment.”

“‘To Read or Not to Read’ suggests we are losing the majority of the new generation,” Gioia said. “The majority of young Americans will not realize their individual, economic or social potential.”

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