Even though I would rather read a book (Ha!) than spend my time on social media, I consider it my duty to call out bullshit when I see it. This old but new again internet info-graphic is making its rounds on FB. And it contains some statistics that are extremely unpleasant specifically to a guy that likes to read books. The title is “Surprising Book Facts” and the only thing that I find surprising is that people believe this shit.
1) 33 percent of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
2) 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
3) 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
4) 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
5) 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
The first two seem fairly reasonable. Sad but there is a possibility that the statements could be true. The next one, 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year – What does that even mean? They didn’t go to the store together as a family and read said book together as a family – I’m not sure why this even matters. Numero 4 says that 70% of US adults have not been in a book store in the last five years – what does this even have to do with reading books? What about the Library, Amazon or digital delivery like Overdrive? And the last one 57 percent of new books are not read to completion. Cook books, text books and the inevitable book that just doesn’t deserve to be read to completion. But where the hell did they come up with 57%?
There is absolutely no references or evidence backing the first two claims and the rest is just ridiculous. When the claims seem absurd it’s a good time to apply Hitchens’s razor – What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
After a bit of googling – I stumbled upon a survey completed by PEW research a more generally reliable source than Facebook. While it still paints a bleak picture, it is not as severe as the FB info graphic. But it still indicates that there is a large percentage of the population that hasn’t read a book in the past 12 months. And to an avid reader this is sacrilege.
What is wrong with these non-book reading people? Are they scared they might end up polluting their minds with a little bit of imagination, learning and joy. A life without books would be horrible, think a world where they only played Justin Bieber on the radio. Would you want that? So do yourself and humanity a favor and go read a BOOK!