Author Harvey Mackay (The ABCs of Success, etc. ) provides the statistic that 73 percent of all books in libraries are never checked out. Imagine that–so much time, effort, and public funds wasted on books that aren’t read. If this stat is true, one wants to ask, should they be read? Perhaps they are simply awful tomes on the the naval history of Britain (yet surely someone is interested in that, if not me) or perhaps they have unappealing covers? But knowing that most public libraries have acquisitions managers and being acquainted with a few of those folks personally, I can tell you that they take their work very seriously and also want to respond to public interests. So why?
According to the Pew Research Center (pew internet.org), as of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. So if all those readers are not reading all those forlorn library books, what are they reading? Not just e-books, perhaps the most likely culprit, because Pew also reports that adults are not abandoning print books for e-books in any hugely substantial shift. Many adults read both formats. And it’s not because nobody goes to libraries any more, because Pew also reports that among those ages 16-29, 50% reported having used a library or bookmobile in the course of the past year in a September 2013 survey. Some 47% of those 30 and older had done so.
So why so many sad, lonely books across America? Do you know why? Maybe Harvey’s stats are just wrong? I’m betting that’s the case, but right now, I don’t have time to find out, because it’s time to write! And, yes, ironically, I am writing a novel that possibly could become one of those never-read books, but Monday morning is no time for pessimism. It’s time to march forth and conquer that page!
Today, I’m writing more interweaving of the character, Ruth, into my second novel. What about you?
And, yes, this week I will try to find out if Mackay’s stat is true and also why, if it is. Because I’m compulsive that way.