After All These Years, Still Reading

The Pew Research Center is publishing several sets of research on America’s reading habits, including the impact of ebooks. It is a chart geek’s paradise.

One section caught my eye: The General Reading Habits of Americans.

I especially noted the chart on how many books we read:

The offset between the mean and median numbers of books is caused by all those folks who read a hundred or more books a year.

You do remember the difference between mean, median and mode, don’t you? Time for a statistics review? Don’t feel bad, obviously the folks who write the evening news and political ads don’t know how to tell the truth with numbers either. Mark Twain said, “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.'”

So far as the skewed curve of books read per year, we know who we are, don’t we?

A chart elsewhere in the article indicates we’re reading more books than in the past.

Happy reading.

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2 thoughts on “After All These Years, Still Reading

  1. I read something similar. However, in stats the number of respondents is small. An N of 2,986 is small and the demographics could have been widened to include subgroups etc.

    A skewed survey in a bookstore or a writer’s conference would reveal a different picture. Remember when Michael said he was averaging a book a week? I kept a list of books when recuperating from first knee surgery. I was astounded at how many books I read, including Rothfuss. But not typical. Maybe it’s about 30-45 a year, not including clinical reading.

  2. True enough, but I read over a hundred books a year. So, I’m one of those who help skew the curve. 😉
    Statistics–real statistics is an interesting subject. I’m glad I studied it in college before I was tossed out among all the folks who abuse and misuse numbers.

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