Please welcome my guest, Melinda B. Pierce, membership director for Savvy Authors!
Who’s Reading Where
Thank you, Babette, for allowing me to guest post today. I had this awesome post prepared and it went on and on about successful critique groups and I tied it into the re-launch of the Savvy Authors site. It was phenomenal. It was done. But like most authors I know, a simple conversation can spark an idea that can take you in a whole new direction.
Let me explain. My family is in the middle of a move, and my husband had a work friend help him with the boxes and heavy furniture. This is a friend I don’t know too well, but I know he is a blogger and aspiring author. (Not to mention he sports a beard that would rival any fella on Duck Dynasty.) He’s moving to Portland in a few weeks, and this has been the subject of many of his conversations with my husband.
My husband relayed a conversation they had as they were loading boxes. The friend commented on the number of books I had. My husband replied that I liked to read – a lot, but obviously I hadn’t read one on how to pack properly. (All my books were shoved into two giant and very heavy boxes). The comment was then made that the people in Portland read a lot more than the people down here.
Me: Um, how does he know that?
Hubby: I dunno, the internet? (He shrugged and I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic)
I’m from the South, love the South, and I’ve heard the jokes about reading, education and our lack of abilities in both areas, so instantly my chest was puffed. What was this person saying? That the people of Portland were more enlightened or educated and therefore reading more books?
And how would something like that be measured, anyway? Don’t tell me it’s just books sales. There are many still using those old, forgotten buildings called libraries. There are friends lending books to friends, and children borrowing books from their parents. There are garage sales, thrift stores, etc. not reporting book sale to anyone. I know I read every romance in my mom’s bookshelf, the westerns on my dad’s, and found my love of Edgar Allen Poe from my great-grandmother.
I guess the numbers could come from surveys, but who really does surveys anymore unless they are getting paid? How reliable would they be? Also, just because a book is bought, doesn’t mean it is read. I have a huge TBR pile, a few of the books have been sitting for over a year.
The situation became less and less about what was said, but more about how anyone would be able to measure what region of the U.S. reads more books than another.
So, I decided to ask Google – what region in the U.S. reads the most? Of course, Amazon had the answer. Or a answer. You can read the article on Huffington Post posted back in April. And even though the two cities rating the highest were in the South, I had a hard time swallowing how they came up with the answer. Only cities with a population over 100,000 or more had sales pulled. Not to mention it was based off Amazon sales. Oh, and they mention that book that starts with the word Fifty and to be honest it felt a little like product placement twice over.
So, back to Google I went. Forbes pointed me in the direction of a survey website they quoted about age demographics of readers, but that’s not what I wanted and I didn’t have the time to go through the searches to try and find the information I was looking for.
By this time I was down to the eleventh hour in getting this post done, and I’m still not even sure of the point I’m trying to make. Does it really matter where people are reading the most, as long as we can still say that people are reading?
Chest unpuffed and after a little more thought, I’m content to say that I don’t think the friend’s comment was a slight against any region. I think as authors and as potential authors we pay attention a little more to those picking up books, and perhaps he likes what he saw in the new area he’s moving too. After all, readers equal job security to authors. I for one notice every person reading in a restaurant, on a plane, or a park bench. It’s in our blood to be a little neurotic about who’s reading what. Case in point is the fact that I have spent an entire evening searching and reading through statistics to find where the readers are reading the most.
So, tell me as authors and aspiring authors, do you notice everyone who has a book/reading tablet in their hands? What region are you from inside or outside the U.S. and do you think you are in an area that would qualify as “well read”? Last, but not least, how many of you find yourselves easily pulled off topic by a simple conversation? J
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramble, and always Happy Writing!
Bio: Melinda B. Pierce is an author hobbyist, mother of two, and Membership Director for Savvy Authors. When she has time she writes in almost every sub-genre of romance and refuses to follow the path of most resistance. Connect with her on twitter @MelindaBPierce
Top Photo: Joanna Margueritte