More on the NEA Survey

Ian Brown reacts to that infamous NEA survey about the drop in the number of readers, which was picked up in several news outlets. Brown argues that although the numbers aren’t what book lovers would like, they’re still pretty good.

But reading literature still comes in fifth — 46.7 per cent of the country does it, more than go to sporting events. And we can finally stop worrying that TV makes people read less. The NEA discovered avid book readers (more than 50 books a year) watch an average of 2.6 hours of TV a day — only slightly less than the 2.8 hours watched by “light” readers who absorb only one to five books a year. The people who read literature are some of the same people who watch TV. Programmers might take note.

Another point of contention, brought up in this and another editorial, from the News Journal is the definition the NEA uses for literature. It doesn’t include non-fiction nor anything read on the Internet. My take on it is that people will always want stories, but now that they can get them in multiple forms (book, movie, TV, internet) there’s a bit of division in the reading space.