Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will ignorance save books?

Sometimes, this book publicist questions the scientific method. Take the example of according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that was released yesterday. It claims that Americans are reading fewer books than ever before. Well, okay. We've been hearing that Americans' interest books has been diminishing every year since I was old enough to read.

That sort of reminds me of a friend's mother who, whenever I run into her, greets me with, "Oh, you've lost so much weight!" If I'd lost weight every time she said I did, then I'd long since be buried. But I digress.

Here's what interests me. It's the paradox that less educated people read more books than, well, better educated people. (After rereading that sentence, I'm not sure which camp I fall into, but I'll nonethess keep going. Please bear with me.)

See, according to the survey, two-thirds of the population (or, at least, the surveyed population) read religiously-oriented books when they read books at all. And, to quote from the Associated Press article about the survey, that subset of the population includes "...lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives."

Hmmm. Okay. So, according to this survey, book publicists ought to think about gearing their book promotion campaigns to those Americans who are ill-educated enough actually read books. I can handle that.

I'm just wondering: is there any way we could do this survey over again? This time, I'd like to see the survey questions. First on my list of hoped-for questions would be, "Which Harry Potter book do you think was the best of the series?" Because I don't know a person who hasn't read, or doesn't plan to read, at least a few books lately. People I know may not admit to being Rowling's fans, but my guess is that, while their kids are asleep, they're dipping into Potter #7, regardless of what they're telling those AP-Ipsos pollsters. I'll bet you they are. I'll betcha ANYTHING!

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