Who were the non-readers?
"A fifth of Americans (18%)[*] said they had not read a book in the past year. This group is more likely to be: male than female (23% vs. 14%), Hispanic than white or black (28% vs. 17% and 16%), age 65 or older (27%), lacking a high school diploma (34%), living in households earning less than $30,000 (26%), unemployed (22%), and residents of rural areas 25%. Those who did not read a book last year also tended not to be technology users."The number of American adults who read 50 or more books a year has also been halved from more than from 1/10th (13%) in 1978 to 1/20th (5%) in 2011. This drop has occurred even though e-book and cell phone readers make carrying and reading books ever easier.
What gives readers joy in reading? Pew found:
26% of those who had read a book in the past 12 months said that what they enjoyed most was learning, gaining knowledge, and discovering information.----
15% cited the pleasures of escaping reality, becoming immersed in another world, and the enjoyment they got from using their imaginations.
12% said they liked the entertainment value of reading, the drama of good stories, the suspense of watching a good plot unfold.
12% said they enjoyed relaxing while reading and having quiet time.
6% liked the variety of topics they could access via reading and how they could find books that particularly interested them.
4% said they enjoy finding spiritual enrichment through reading and expanding their worldview.
3% said they like being mentally challenged by books.
2% cited the physical properties of books – their feel and smell – as a primary pleasure.
*I've contacted Pew on the discrepancy between their text number of 18% and their chart number of 19% who have not read a book in the previous 12 months.