Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This afternoon's dose of depressing content.

58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.

42% of college graduates never read another book.

80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.

70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57% of new books are not read to completion.


81% of the population feels they have a book inside them.


(Hint: together, these statistics mean that at least two-fifths of Americans believe they "have a book inside them" despite not having read one since high school.)

I am growing suspicious of these numbers. According to the U.S. Census (PDF), in 2003 52.5% of the population 25 years and older had at least some college. I can't square that with 58% of people never finishing another book after high school, unless about 10% of the country attends college without reading a single book start to finish. That is possible, since it appears that about half of the people who start college either go for occupational Associate degrees or just drop out, but it doesn't seem likely. I cannot find the original source (link above is to a secondary source), so I can't see what kind of survey generated the statistics.


  • At 8:36 PM, Blogger Phoebe Evergreen said…

    OK, that just sucks.

    By the way, doesn't pace mean the same thing as contra? I think people should use pace more, because it's not as easy to tell what it means. But I could be wrong about what it means.

  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Pace is the ironic contra.

    It's the ablative form of pax, the Latin word for "peace." I don't know this for sure, but I have always thought it was an abbreviated form of the ablative absolute pace facta, which means "after peace had been made with _____." So it's an ironic way of feigning politeness to someone you think is a dick. Thus: "My boyfriend and I decided to go to Canada to get married, pace the wishes of Senator Rick Santorum."

    Wow, that was the first time in a long time I have used my seven years of Latin classes.

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    How is that by the way?

  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    How is using Latin again? Uh, sentio renovandus, velut puer iterum.

  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Yeah, I'm totally skeptical of that guy's data. Like:

    Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore.
    --David Godine, Publisher.

    Uh, OK, David Godine, whoever you are, but how the hell would you know?

    I'm sure some of it is accurate, but Poynter seems to have an extremely low standard for including evidence that supports his argument.

  • At 8:06 PM, Blogger Phoebe Evergreen said…

    Thanks, SG. I had a Latin tutor once when I was in 8th grade and my parents thought I needed extracurricular academic stimulation. Then I turned out to be lazy, so the whole plan fell apart.


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