Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Bad math and good ideas

Author M.J. Rose is worried:, a print on demand company, published a survey that suggested we should be afraid because the year 2052 will be the year of Authorgeddon.

Using stats published by R.R. Bowker. worked out that if we keep publishing at the rate we are publishing now, in 2052 148.4 million books will be published -- but only 129.4 million Americans will actually read a book.

Do the math. This means 19 million new books will not find a reader.

I can hardly believe I'm about to argue with M.J. Rose, who's way smarter than me, especially when it comes to book publishing and marketing, but it's ludicrous to assume those 129.4 million Americans will read only one book each. Many of them can be counted on to pick up something other than The DaVinci Code in a given year. I'm doing my part by reading several books a month. How about you?

But back to that stuff about M.J. being smarter than me. She's thought up some great ways we can make the world a better place by encouraging our friends and relatives to read more. Here's a tip I particularly like:

We can each buy books instead of bottles of wine when we go to a dinner party.

I'm eager to try that. Now I just need somebody to invite me to dinner.

In the second half of her post, M.J. leans pretty hard on aspiring authors who aren't big readers, but she makes some good points. Click over and see for yourself.


Mirtika said...

Before I read your comments, I was tihnking, "Um, what, she only reads ONE book a year?" ahahha

So, yeah, the math is off, but the decline is reading seems to be true and a bad pattern for us, for sure.

They advertised a FAHRENHEIT 451 event locally--lectures on "burning books", banned books, freedom of expression, and on the Ray Bradbury novel with readings and a screening of the film with Julie Christie. I loved the ending of that film...

Anyway, it got me thinking yesterday about how we are becoming in part that way--reading less, watching more (tv, dvds, video games). I see my grandnephew rush to play his games and totally ignore the books he loved when younger. I never see him read anymore. I rarely saw my nephews read. Instead of a book, I see kids with gameboys and iPods.

Oh, scares me a wee bit that.

My husband, he of the textbook on testing gaming software, says we should focus on writing stories for video games. He got the look of death from me.


Meg said...

I was just griping today on my blog that not many of the 20-somethings of my acquaintance are into reading fiction. That isn't quite the same gripe as the one about not reading at all, but it still bugs me.

You can come to dinner at my house anytime, Brenda, but it'd be a long trek.

Anonymous said...

We hosted a dinner party friday night and received 3 bottles of wine. Nice gifts, certainly...but I really like the idea of bringing a book!

And PLEASE come to my house for dinner! I miss you! And, we would try to eat before 9:30 (but no guarantee)


Gina Burgess said...

That is a great idea! I shall try to remember to do that next time I go to a dinner party. Especially when we Baptists don't drink wine. Now I'm going to toddle off to bed and devour one of the 18 books beside my bed. I do feel sorry for those who don't read. How boring their life must be. (Can you hear the snobbery?)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

One book a year! I don't think I'd survive long...My TBR pile now has nineteen books in it!

Mirtika said...

My TBR is at around, oh, 600 books.

I need a bigger house.

Brenda Coulter said...

My TBR is at around, oh, 600 books.

Mir, sometimes you really scare me. ;-) My TBR pile is more the size of Gina's and Bonnie's.

Meg and Skeezicks (that's my favorite sister), thanks for the dinner invitations. I'll have to rush right out and buy some books for you both.

Nienke said...

Brenda, you are officially invited to dinner. Let me know next time you'll be in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area.

Brenda Coulter said...

Aw. Thanks, Nienke.