Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the incredible shrinking reading audience

Who are the readers in your audience? Chances are, they're a shrinking--but active--group, according to a recent National Endowment for the Arts report and coverage of same in the New Yorker magazine. The New Yorker article, which contrasts reductions in reading habits with the rise of high-tech and television viewing, notes:
...the N.E.A. reports that readers are more likely than non-readers to play sports, exercise, visit art museums, attend theatre, paint, go to music events, take photographs, and volunteer. Proficient readers are also more likely to vote. Perhaps readers venture so readily outside because what they experience in solitude gives them confidence. Perhaps reading is a prototype of independence. No matter how much one worships an author, Proust wrote, “all he can do is giveus desires.” Reading somehow gives us the boldness to act on them.
The report itself takes care to note "no causal relationship" between reading and other activities. But the data should give sports, fitness, arts and nonprofit volunteer organizations a new window into their active audiences and their reading habits. And for the rest of us, the report serves as a reminder of the changing attention span of Americans in relation to books, newspapers and traditional print media.

No comments: