// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Reading Study: Americans Reading LESS

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces the release of a PDF Report called To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence, a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns in the United States. The new reading study, To Read or Not To Read, gathers statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading habits and skills of children, teenagers, and adults. The compendium reveals recent declines in voluntary reading and test scores alike, exposing trends that have severe consequences for American society.

"The new NEA study is the first to bring together reliable, nationally representative data, including everything the federal government knows about reading," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "This study shows the startling declines, in how much and how well Americans read, that are adversely affecting this country's culture, economy, and civic life as well as our children's educational achievement."
To Read or Not To Read expands the investigation of the NEA's landmark 2004 report, Reading at Risk. While that report focused mainly on literary reading trends, To Read or Not To Read looks at all varieties of reading, including fiction and nonfiction genres in various formats such as books, magazines, newspapers, and online reading. Whereas the earlier report assessed reading among adults age 18 and older, To Read or Not To Read analyzes reading trends for youth and adults, and readers of various education levels. To Read or Not To Read is unique for its consideration of reading habits alongside other behaviors and related outcomes including academic achievement, employment, and community involvement.

Read the rest of the story here, and/or download the whole PDF or just the Executive Summary. In some ways, the fact that people are reading less doesn't seem too breakthrough to me.

My take: It's obvious people have more choices when it comes to news, entertainment and learning channels. For publishers, this represents an amazing opportunity to differentiate. For publishers with truly unique and distinctive offerings, this is a time to identify and leverage properties and opportunities. Product opportunities and communication opportunities. Storytelling has never been more in vogue, and good stories stand the test of time. Publishers who listen, communicate and respond to their current and potential consumers stand to gain brand loyalists. Loving a brand beyond reason (aka LOVEMARKS) is possible when relevant relationships are forged, and when a company not only delivers need but also anticipates and exceeds it. I look forward to being a part of creating opportunities for a publisher who sees this information with a lens of optimism. And who responds with a renewed desire to see good books, or in my case The Good Book, perform better than ever with new and exiting new avenues and communication methods.

(via The Penguin Blog )

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're so right about the opportunities here -- not just technical, but new opportunities to inspire a love of reading. Also, I'm so glad you wrote this post. It makes me even more determined to encourage Duncan to read and write well.

10:35 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

As I considered my thoughts on this report, one thing I read (can't recall who to attribute) was the fact that there will always be new classic reads. The nostalgia of Moby Dick and other such classics will continue to be written and read over and over, but those experiences will be greatly enhanced, with additional delivery systems and enhanced materials. Printed book, electronic book, hyperlink to varied and deeper connections. A multimedia experience for youngsters already adept with technology. Ironically, many of my niece's first year college friends are readers in a traditional way. In fact, many are bucking technology trends and some are making the move to analog for nostalgic purpose. All that said, storytelling has a bright future in my estimation. The onus then is on publishers and book stores to exceed, not just meet, basic needs of what is slowing becoming a transformed audience in terms of reading, learning and gathering information, communication, shopping and entertainment. Exciting all around.

Thanks for stopping and once again for taking the step to add to the conversation (or as is the case with BarryBlog, to START the conversation). I appreciate you Liz.

12:16 PM  

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