An Associated Press-Ipsos telephone poll of about 1,000 people indicates reading habits are continuing to decline. Only 1/4 of people surveyed admitted reading a book last year. People who are white, Democratic or liberal, living in the Midwest or West, educated, and don’t regularly attend religious services are more likely to read than others. Religious works are more commonly read by the polled group.
I wonder what the questions in the survey were. Did they ask what people read at all? Is it that reading habits are declining or just that people are reading fewer books? Do books on tape count as having read a book? Do online books count? I’m curious about how many people are taking their reading online. Are people trading time they’d spend reading books for time reading online sources, like online news sites, weblogs, webcomics, and feed readers?
(I can’t help wondering about the demographics telephone surveys reach these days. Did the pollsters only call landline numbers? How many folks only have mobile numbers now? Who is the average person in that demographic? Would that have skewed a survey?)