life, writing

Do People Read?

Really, folks. I’m going to need your input on this one. As an author, I’m finding myself conflicted. Perhaps some of you may have a new perspective to offer, but hear me out first.

Of course, I know we all read every day. We read texts, we read these blogs, we read social networks. We even read signs on the road as we drive. But, does anyone actually sit down to read a book anymore?

Max reads 1 (800x692) wmMaybe I should change my genre to canine-saga.

I used to be an avid book reader. I couldn’t get enough of them. Bookstores were my home away from home, and libraries were palaces to me.

If I’m being honest, since 2010, my reading has diminished immensely. Aside from the few weeks after my husband’s accident, I’ve been writing on a regular basis, pretty much daily (7 days a week). In addition, I read a half dozen authors from my writer’s critique group. Between writing and critiquing, it’s difficult to find the time to read.

I don’t hear anyone say to me, “I read this fantastic book that you just have to read.” I mean, the only titles that I’ve heard lots of talk about in the last several years are Harry Potter and Fifty Shades. I don’t write YA, New Adult, Fantasy or Erotica. I write Family Saga, Women’s Fiction (not necessarily romance, although there is some of that) and Inspirational.

Due to technology, it just doesn’t seem like people care to read books anymore. Another problem is that anyone can publish a book, whether they are a good author who hones their craft, or someone who just jots down an idea and uploads it to amazon.

As an author gearing up to publish my first novel, all of these matters highly concern me.

I love to write. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I’ve been able to read, which I’ve done since before kindergarten. I will always write, but getting published almost seems hopeless. I know . . . I’m supposed to be an optimist, right? Not really. I battle pessimism every day. I like to post optimistic blogs, because it’s what I need to learn.

I have one novel finished, and two more are in the works. I’m going to attend a very good writer’s conference in October and gather information on what to do. From there I’ll make a decision on whether to self-publish, try the traditional route, or even bother publishing at all.

I know some fantastic authors out there who are spending more time marketing than writing. They really aren’t selling many books, and I believe it’s because people don’t read anymore.

My novels are about people you know. My characters are your neighbor, your friend, your sister, your aunt, cousin, your mom and yes, even you. They are people you can relate to. They are human beings having lives filled with the drama of family dysfunction. Some of them learn and grow from their dramas, and others remain stuck. Would anyone read me?

Does anyone even read any types of books anymore? What do you think?

IMG_6471 (800x533)Lots of family to draw ideas from. Can you find Yours Truly?

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46 thoughts on “Do People Read?”

  1. I read a lot from novels to daily missal but it has to be written in paper. I buy books and still have yet to read the books I bought a year ago. I am a slow reader especially when the book is soooooo good. Don’t want to finish it in one sitting.

    Keep calm and keep on writing.

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  2. Yes, there are plenty of people who still read. I’m one of a few people in my office who are almost always reading something. We trade books and recommend favorite authors. I’m not sure that the internet and social media have necessarily reduced the number of book readers. I just think there are more people active there who might otherwise never have read much of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Terri. I’m getting some encouraging feedback, so that’s good. I think Carrie’s comment was spot on. The market is saturated with people writing books these days, because anyone can publish.

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  3. When I was younger, I read vociferously for enjoyment. Then in graduate school, much of my time was spent reading the research findings of other archaeologists, which cut into my available time for “fun” reading. That’s continued with career, home, spouse, and such.

    I think Andrea’s comment showing the number of people who still DO read is encouraging. But when I finally have something finished and ready for publication, I’ll be overwhelmed with the difficulty in getting readers to notice that particular book!

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    1. I know, it’s so difficult getting noticed. It’s like Carrie said, the market is saturated. You know, I just arrived home from my writer’s group, and I posed this question to them. The biggest selling author of our group says that authors who write whatever the latest trend is will sell the most books. That’s true. But, I don’t write trendy. So, it’ll be daunting to market no matter which publishing route I choose to go. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with reading, JM.

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  4. My wife and I read books and still do. It has rubbed off on our three adult children and we actually have one room converted into a mini-library of sorts.

    Last Christmas, my son who used to live in NYC and my daughter who used to live in Brisbane returned home. My wife, our youngest and I picked them up from the airport – their flights came in an hour apart. After the first few minutes of banter – all three children shared what they read and exchanged snippets about books, both fiction and non-fiction. That was the first non-family subject that came up for discussion.

    Yes, my family reads and I am happy about that.

    But I agree with you – most people don’t read any more.

    Peace,
    Eric
    P/s All the best with your forthcoming book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing about you and your family’s reading habits.This is encouraging news. Thank you also for your best wishes on my book. I’ll be attending the writer’s conference in October, and then decide what to do. How are your self-publishing efforts going, Mr. Eric? Do you publish for both e-readers and in print? I can’t decide yet which route to go with my novel. Always appreciate hearing from you.

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  5. With only a few exceptions I can think of everyone I know in the real and blogging worlds reads novels print mainly and some e-books, and we all exchange notes. My ‘to read’ list is out of control. And as I mentioned in my reply to your comment on my post I belong to a book club who meet up every second month to just to talk about books. Goodreads is an excellent way to connect with other readers, and authors, online.

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  6. 69% of Americans read a print book in the last year and 28% read an e-book (76% overall as some read both) so that’s not a bad statistic (it’s from the Pew report). The proportions are quite similar in the UK. The headlines seem to focus on the fact that a quarter of people haven’t read a book in the last year, but that means that many more have done – and it’s higher than the year before!

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    1. Very cool, Andrea. Thank you for sharing this information. I hadn’t heard of the pew report before. I checked it out and it’s full of interesting polls. Thanks for that encouraging news.

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  7. I do find that reading for pleasure becomes less of a priority in my life it I let it. All day long, I read news articles, blogs etc. and write for my day job. In my free time, I read more blogs of personal interest and write on my blog. I find that pushes my reading time to the very end of the night, when I’m often too tired to even open the Kindle app.

    I’ve also focused a lot of non-fiction and memoirs over the last few years. I’ve been easing my way back into fiction over the last year and really am enjoying it again. Modern life comes with so many distractions that we have to fight against the information overload and take time to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life, like reading a good book.

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    1. Hi Joy. I was reading a lot of memoirs and nonfiction before I started cutting back on reading due to time issues. Now, I find myself drawn to fiction again, but I wish I could find some good ones. You’re right, we do need time away from info overload with the relaxation of a good book. Thank you for your input.

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  8. My sweet husband and I read together, Lori, with me reading out loud to him. I agree with Carrie that there are so many more books competing for our attention that it may be difficult to make headway in the sales area. Nonetheless, those who are meant to hear your message will find you. Fear not! xoxoM

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    1. How cool that you read to your hubby. My husband doesn’t read books. He’s a ‘fix it’ guy. But, he does like it when I read to him sometimes. And yes, I agree with Carrie, too. I hadn’t thought of that before. I thank you for the reminder that my message will reach who they are supposed to, and for your input, Miss M.

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  9. What a fascinating post, Lori! I read a LOT. Mostly on Kindle Fire these days, although part of me would prefer a good old-fashioned book. My mom and I exchange titles, sharing our favorite books. I couldn’t get by without books.

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    1. That’s right, you have blogged about your book club before. It’s good to know that there are readers out there in the UP. I have a hard time finding a well-written storyline that holds my interest these days. If you have any good recommends, let me know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Miss Kathy.
      P.S. I’ve been using your advice from your response to my wisdom quote since yesterday, and it’s lifting my spirits.

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  10. I read real books, and I read free Kindle eBooks. I have not purchased a single eBook because I, too, question the eBook publishing industry’s integrity. I want to hold the book in my hand, flip through it, and let it persuade me I need to read it. I prefer to read about characters that reflect the people I know, but I rarely find those without finding profanity and depressing themes that have no lasting substance. I’m reading for enlightenment, not to be dragged down into what I already face in the news day to day. I’m looking for beauty and hope in the midst of tough circumstances, where the human spirit prevails. If that’s what you write, then tell me about it. Give me a glimpse and lure me in!

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    1. I do worry about people’s skepticism on e-books. But, I’m with you on the theme of stories, Rilla. I like to read the same stuff … something with depth. There are two reasons why I don’t read as much (although I do, just less). One is lack of time, but when I do have the time, I can’t find a good plot to save my soul. Those things you and I want in a story are hard to find. Oh yes, my novel has exactly what you’re looking for. There are flawed characters who don’t always get that their flawed, but when one of them does, their growth is inspirational. If you know of any good books you can recommend, let me know. Thanks so much for sharing your input, Rilla.

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        1. LOL Thanks. I was wondering if anyone noticed how well he posed for that photo. Such a good boy, but he said he loved the book of quotes I put there in front of him. Hee, hee.

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  11. If I didn’t read so much, I could never write. I’ve always been a reader and that will never change. I think people still read, but their attention span seems shorter so we’re seeing more novellas, etc.
    Anyone who would rather read posts on Facebook or Twitter feeds than a good book has their priorities way out of line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think lots of people who love to read, love to write. I’ve had trouble with finding a good plot line that keeps me interested, on top of being super busy. I do still read, just not as much as I used to. I totally agree with you about reading fb & twitter. I really despise social media. It’s so shallow. Thank you for your input, Miss Jill. I appreciate it.

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  12. During college, my reading for pleasure took a deep nosedive. However, since graduating I have gone through bursts of intense reading (sometimes as much as 4-5 books a week). I actually like to read YA books a lot, because those are easy to get through in a single evening, but I’ve read longer books as well.

    It gets to be a problem when I find a series I really like because then the rest of my social/work life suffers a bit in comparison, haha.

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    1. Hi Kris. It sounds like you’ve certainly gotten back into the swing of reading books again. I still do read, but not as much. Thank you for your input. I’m getting some positive responses. It’s encouraging. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  13. I think the readers are still there, but the number of books published yearly has increased dramatically. Unless you’re a big name or promoted by the big publishers, it can be difficult to get recognition. I still love to read, but I don’t always have the time to read as much as I’d like. I always read on my lunch break. That way I get some reading time in every day. On a good day, I get to do more.

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    1. Hey Carrie. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and insight. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I still read when I get time. I’ve been trying to read in bed just before sleepy time. Sometimes I’m too tired to focus though. Other times, it lulls me to sleep. Thanks again, and I hope all is going well in your mom’s recovery.

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    1. Yes, e-readers are the way to go these days. I read from a kindle app myself. I still do read, but not near as much. I appreciate your sharing your input on it. It’s good to know that some people are reading books at least sometimes.

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  14. Lori…I read ALL the time, granted I can’t remember the last time that I bought a hardback book because I went to the “dark side” and bought a Nook but I can tell you that I have been funding Barnes and Noble because I buy normally buy one or two ebooks a week.

    Your concern is normal, but people will read your book. I will read your book as well as many others that follow you here.

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    1. Hey Jolene! Yep, most people have gone to the “dark side” with the e-readers these days. I read from a kindle app on my Surface/tablet. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and for your encouragement.

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  15. I went through that same thing. When I am writing and editing it’s hard to find the time to read, but I think I’ve finally struck a balance and I can read a bit when I force myself to take a break. It’s a matter of getting into a routine (for me, anyway), but I understand how it’s hard to write and read when you’re so immersed in your own plot and writing sessions. Your own writing can be all-consuming. But it needn’t be that way.

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    1. Lately, I’ve been trying to read in bed before sleep, instead of watching TV. Sometimes I find it difficult to find a good author, and can’t finish some books. But, that’s part of the dilemma … readers may give up because it’s difficult to find good authors. The comments are mostly positive about people reading though, so that’s good. Thanks for sharing your input, Anneli.

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      1. Well, what an opening! I have three good books people should read. Just check them out on my website anneli-purchase.com
        I know, that was shameless of me. You can delete this comment if you want and I won’t feel bad.

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  16. Yes, people read. I just finished (for the second time) Contact by Carl Sagan and The Nazi Officer’s Wife. Do I read anything with romance in it? No. If there is any romance I skip that part because it is not me.
    People read many different genres. I have a friend who only reads Murder Mysteries. I read some of hers (are use too) however now she download everything to her new Kindle so when I publish again, I will make sure that it is both a hard copy (which I love) as well as an ebook. Cover two bases at one time!

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  17. I recently had a friend post my novel on her page and tell all her friends how much she loved it. Two of her friends also bought the book, loved it, and posted it on their pages. So people still do it. Though, I’ve noticed that it’s not as often as I once believed it would be.

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    1. Hey Angela. That’s great word of mouth on your book, and good to know that people actually bought it when the word was spread. Thanks for sharing your insight.

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  18. Literary fiction is NOT DEAD! “Between writing and critiquing, it’s difficult to find the time to read.” This is READING and how we READ now (in addition to all the browsing we do all day).

    I live in a town where people love books. The library’s very busy and people talk about them, have book clubs, lend etc. Lucky for you you really only have to think about which publisher is right for you and submit and in the meantime make those characters even MORE real with MORE life.

    Yes you’d be read.

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    1. Hey Pete! I appreciate your input. I just don’t know many people who read. My mom reads her kindle, but she downloads the free books. I’ll need to come to your town to talk up my novel if I get it published. Thank you for your optimistic support. Onward and upward. πŸ™‚

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