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American Reading Habits Studied

84 Percent of Literary Internet Readers Are Reading Books
The National Endowment for the Arts released some encouraging news about the future of books and the Internet by studying the new market for digital books, the NEA revealed that “Eighty-four percent of adults who read literature (fiction, poetry, or drama) on or downloaded from the Internet also read books, whether print or online… Nearly 15 percent of all U.S. adults read literature online in 2008.”
The full report is here.
“Among the key findings:
Literary reading increases
For the first time in the history of the survey – conducted five times since 1982 – the overall rate at which adults read literature (novels and short stories, plays, or poems) rose by seven percent.
The absolute number of literary readers has grown significantly. There were 16.6 million more adult readers of literature in 2008. The growth in new readers reflects higher adult reading rates combined with overall population growth.
The 2008 increases followed significant declines in reading rates for the two most recent ten-year survey periods (1982-1992 and 1992-2002).
Demographics of literature readers
Young adults show the most rapid increases in literary reading. Since 2002, 18-24 year olds have seen the biggest increase (nine percent) in literary reading, and the most rapid rate of increase (21 percent). This jump reversed a 20 percent rate of decline in the 2002 survey, the steepest rate of decline since the NEA survey began.
Since 2002, reading has increased at the sharpest rate (+20 percent) among Hispanic Americans, Reading rates have increased among African Americans by 15 percent, and among Whites at an eight percent rate of increase.
For the first time in the survey’s history, literary reading has increased among both men and women. Literary reading rates have grown or held steady for adults of all education levels.
Trends in media and literary preferences
Fiction (novels and short stories) accounts for the new growth in adult literary readers.
Reading poetry and drama continues to decline, especially poetry-reading among women.
Online readers also report reading books. Eighty-four percent of adults who read literature (fiction, poetry, or drama) on or downloaded from the Internet also read books, whether print or online.
Nearly 15 percent of all U.S. adults read literature online in 2008.
A tale of two Americas
The U.S. population now breaks into two almost equally sized groups – readers and non-readers.
A slight majority of American adults now read literature (113 million) or books (119 million) in any format.
Reading is an important indicator of positive individual and social behavior patterns. Previous NEA research has shown that literary readers volunteer, attend arts and sports events, do outdoor activities, and exercise at higher rates than non-readers.”
Stephen

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Posted on: January 17, 2009, 11:00 am Category: Uncategorized

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