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Who’s Reading?

May 5, 2009

meredithOn his blog, Tod Shuttleworth, here at Thomas Nelson,  quotes Bowker’s Pub Track 2008  research about readers.  While Tod devotes most of his post to digital issues (as he should, ’cause that’s his job), he leads with these three findings:

  • Only 45% of Americans over 13 years-old read books
  • 32% of book readers are over 55 years-old
  • The average book reader is 44

For the publishing industry, these are HORRIBLE numbers.  Do we really make a product that targets 44-year-olds?  And does that please us?

The future of books–in any vehicle–is the future of reading.  As publishers we need to:

KNOW

  • Which way is the trend going?  
  • Is the average reader age over the last 20 years going up or down?  (I’ve got a pretty good, educated guess.)

SET NEW GOALS–The book industry should be leading the charge to change the numbers:

  • 85% of Americans over 13 should be reading. 
  • Only 15% of readers should be over 55 years of age.
  • The average book reader should be 29.

Let’s decide to do this, say, within10 years.  

Then we can all start making some real money.

 

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