Falling book readership shows the need for a national digital library endowment

The freshest ebook sales stats from major publishers are a big downer. But the real news is exactly what Andrew Richard Albanese has concluded in Publishers Weekly, amid dismal revenue news from 1,200 publishers. Albanese’s headline says it all: Print or Digital, It’s Reading That Matters. He writes:

Overall, Pew found that the share of Americans who have read a book in any format in the last year held steady at 73%, largely unchanged since 2012. But that’s down from 79% in 2011, the first year Pew began researching people’s reading habits. Pew also found that the average number of books read per year has also remained steady since 2012, at 12. But again, that number is also down, from 14 in 2011.”

Keep in mind those are averages skewed by heavy readers of books. The typical readers buys just a fraction of the average. Albanese…

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