Several months ago, Pew Research came out with its annual report on the number of book readers in the U.S. The results? More than a quarter of Americans didn’t even read one book in the last year.

Unfortunately, those numbers get even worse when broken down by demographic group. According to Pew’s latest report on American reading levels, men, Blacks, Hispanics, and rural-dwelling individuals are just a few of the demographic groups with large portions of non-readers.

Book Readers by Demographic

It’s true. We live in a digital society where we are fed a continuous stream of information through radio, television, and other audible sources. When such is the case, it’s easy to question whether it’s really necessary for Americans to pick up a book and read.

But as Professor Allan Bloom once pointed out, “[T]he failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency – the belief that the here and now is all there is.”

If the trend of having fewer Americans read books continues, will we condemn ourselves to a future of stagnant and narrow thought?  

Image Credit: Steven Andrew