You’re an Author? Me Too! – News from the New York Times

I’d like to share this interesting and to be honest, slightly worrying, article for Indie authors from the New York Times.

You’re an Author? Me Too! – Essay – Book Review – New York Times.

They point out that the number of Americans who read for pleasure is decreasing all the time – for example, 53% of adult Americans did not read a book for pleasure in the past year. I’m not sure how that figure is reflected across the rest of the world but of course America is a large market.

Shocking as this is, I have been able to find some data for Australia which gives me some hope. A recent AC Neilsen survey in Australia suggests that 78% of the adult population reads for pleasure every day or most days of the week, and of that 72% of the reading is of books (rather than newspapers and magazines).

Whatever the figure is, there is no denying that the number of published authors (including Indie authors) is rising all the time. Great! You might say. Lots more choice, and lots of variety. No doubt this is true, but surely the sheer volume of work being produced must make finding the good stuff harder? Are we floundering in too many stories?

Maybe not – maybe we can rely on reviews and ratings to help us sort through the morass of writing out there. I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on this issue. As someone about to float something into the sea of new writing out there, it frankly seems just a bit daunting.

The article also has a interesting take on who is reading all the stuff out there, and it sounds like the community of readers is populated to an increasing extent by those who write. Is this a reflection of people involving themselves to a much greater extent in the literary life? I am certainly aware that in the blogisphere and on Twitter, there is a lot of good discussion going on between authors, which no doubt makes us better writers, but also perhaps to create more of a word-based community.

Please let me know your thoughts. Are people reading less? Are there too many new books out there? And is it hard to find good stories?

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4 thoughts on “You’re an Author? Me Too! – News from the New York Times

  1. :O “53% of adult Americans did not read a book for pleasure in the past year”…how is that even possible? No wonder depression is on the rise – more than half of all Americans are missing out on the enchanting world that is literature.

  2. Thanks for sharing the NYT article. :)

    I had this whole response written before I realized that the article you shared was written in April 2008, almost 4 years ago.

    Tablets like the Kindle and iPad are selling more each year (look up the 2011 holiday season to see what I mean), and Amazon has inducted more and more authors into the million ebooks sold club (the official name escapes me at the moment). People are certainly reading; they have the devices to help them get books more easily and much cheaper than they could before.

    Will everyone find that kind of success? Not likely, but one thing to keep in mind is that this industry has always been very competitive.

    The publishers themselves were the gatekeepers not long ago. Now, you can upload a .mobi or .epub version of your book yourself onto the Barnes and Nobles and Amazon Kindle stores.

    So, take heart! And don’t worry. :)

    • Gosh – I should have been paying more attention! I didn’t realise that it was that old.
      I do think it’s very interesting that traditional publishers have been quite surprised by some of the titles which have done very well. Books which never would have been published by the usual channels, but which have done very well anyway.
      Thanks for the encouragement, and for stopping by! :)

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