A Shrinking Audience—Or Is It?

For years, studies have reported that the amount of time people spend reading is decreasing. I keep waiting to hear that this trend is reversing, but alas, I wait in vain.

reading around the world

Many people thought that the rise of ebooks would help reverse the slide of reading time, especially for children, many of whom appear to prefer digital apparatuses to physical books. However, the latest reports indicate that this is not the case.

According to government studies, since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.

As an author, an independent publisher, and someone who is in the business of helping authors and small publishers market their books to readers, I find these statistics depressing. It appears that we have an ever-shrinking audience to market books to.

I guess the silver lining on the cloud is that, with digital books, marketing and selling books worldwide has become easier. Being able to sell a book around the world increases the potential audience for a book, making up for the declining reading population in the United States.

Are you selling your book worldwide? If so, what countries are you having the most success in?

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2 thoughts on “A Shrinking Audience—Or Is It?

  1. Most of my sales outside the U.S. are in the UK, which might include mainland Europe for those who read English, for print books that is. For ebooks the UK, followed by Canada. Many times more in the UK than Canada.

    I would not have thought that so many more sales would happen in the UK than Canada, but perhaps the CA population is a lot lower than I thought compared to the UK (?).

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  2. That is it Mike. Canada has about 35 million people, but the UK has about 63 million—almost twice as many!

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