Note: It is understood the following information has been obtained through the medium of surveys.
- In the United Kingdom (UK) the percentage of people who read went down over a four year period from 79% to 72%.
- In the United States of America (USA) 27% of those surveyed stated they had not read a single book in the last year.
- In the UK it is now estimated 15% of adults are ‘functionally illiterate’. (Literacy level below what is expected from an eleven year old.)
Note: Though the above statistics are shown by national identity it would seem reasonable to accept the figures reflect the situation generally, irrespective of territory or country.
These figures are disappointing and rather a sad reflection of modern society. Possible reasons:
Note: The following are simply a matter of conjecture without (beside the statistics quoted above) any research into the topic having been carried out.
- The Internet. (Most simply scan trough items and it has been proven many are more influenced by visual, as opposed to textual, material.)
- Computer Gaming. (Reading not a requirement with most games.)
- Eduction systems/styles. (More emphasis upon ‘project’ work rather than straight studying. Of course, there are varying opinions but the concept has to be considered. And of course, large classes do not help.)
- Texting. (Abbreviated codes are not conducive to learning actual words.)
- Social Media in general. (Few engage in actual conversations with most communication being abbreviated as it now tends to be in most places.)
- Parental influence. (Children used to learn much of their language from parental discussions however, many parents no longer seem to engage their children in such conversations.)
- Smartphones. (Reduce actual face to face conversation and of course there is also the abbreviated messaging factor.)
As stated, the above simply comprise some thoughts/ideas which no doubt many, at some stage or other, will have contemplated for themselves. However, this article is not intended to be about these issues but it was thought worthwhile to mention them considering the impact upon reading.
Reader Help Appreciated
Before continuing, in case some have developed a slightly off-kilter concept, authors are, or at least should also be, readers.
Readers! Authors, as well as other readers, could really do with your help. Did you enjoy the book you have just read? Perhaps you did not and feel it would help others to say what you did not like. On the other hand, if it was a good book, would you not like others to know about it? No doubt you appreciate others pointing out something they have enjoyed especially as it is increasingly difficult, with so many thousands of books being published most days, to find your next read. In addition, many authors, especially independent ones, find it difficult to let readers know their book is available, again part of so many being self-published these days. They, together with other potential readers, would appreciate readers commenting on their works not only in conversation with friends and family but also by means of social media and particularly reviews.
Of course it is understood many find the idea of writing a review a little daunting (hopefully not authors) for a variety of reasons. However, a review does not have to be a long exegesis, it may simply consist of a couple of sentences stating what was liked/not liked about the book as a whole; whether the story itself was liked or not; what the writing style is like; etc. Of course, it may be longer with a little more detail. Whatever it contains, authors and readers would really appreciate people leaving a review.
A few articles have been previously published in this website which may help those who remain diffident. Click on each title to read full article.
Covers: What are reviews. Who reviews are for. What is wanted from a review.
Looks at: Why readers do not write reviews. What to include in a review. How to present a review.
As the title implies, this is primarily aimed at authors though those writing reviews may also be interested.
Discusses: Whether authors should respond to reviews. Principles of dealing with different types of review. Requesting reviews. Author to author reciprocation.
Considers: Star rating values between different sites. How ratings have been distorted by suggested misuse. How ratings may influence sales.
The intention behind this article is to assist reviewers, especially the inexperienced, with determining a valid rating and to clarify how books are rated within this website.
Reviews are a valid and very useful, for all, means of sharing opinions and facts about products. Both reader and author benefit from them though reviews are primarily for potential readers.
Readers should be assured, in most instances, their generosity in writing a review, is very, very much appreciated.
It will be appreciated if readers who, up-to-this-point, have not contemplated writing reviews, did consider doing so. As already stated, these do not have to be lengthy; just a few sentences that convey an overall ‘personal’ assessment would be welcome and helpful.
Thank you for taking time to read this. Please feel free to ask if there is anything else you would like to know about reviewing.