In a recent poll conducted for HeadOverTales.com, 80% of respondents said that they read 5 or fewer books a year. This is consistent with some reports that reading is declining as an enjoyable hobby in our country. In that same poll, the most reported obstacles to reading more were lack of time and not knowing where to find good books. These results are interesting in the face of unprecedented growth in the overall book publishing industry. More books than ever before are available to those who want to read them, but that doesn’t change the fact that people seem to be busier than ever and overwhelmed by or unable to find those resources on the web that would match them to the books they’d most likely enjoy. So, if you’re a tepid or too-busy reader, what would help you most ? I’ve provided tips like these for making more time to read, but I think there’s more to it than that. It’s also helping you understand that the publishing world is changing a lot these days, and if there ever were a time that you could most benefit from those changes, it is now.
Self-help, memoir, cookbook, political commentary books have consistently been selling better collectively than all fiction titles for at least the past three years. This means that there are more self-help and how-to books available, which means that the tepid or too-busy reader has much more of a chance of improving their lives through what they read. Even in the face of so much content being available for free on the web, the old axiom still applies: you get what you pay for. Those self-help and how-to books that are published tend to be more impactful and richer than anything available for free. This is BookBub’s list of the 38 best self-help books (of them, I’ve read 4); I’m working on compiling a list of my own and putting together a reading challenge for you! I’m also reading You Are a BadA* by Jen Sincero and The Self-Esteem Workbook by Dr. Glenn Schiraldi, and highly recommend both of those.
Whether in response to economics or shorter reader attention spans, more short stories and compilations of short stories are available than ever before, according to PressBooks.com. For the reader who doesn’t have a lot of time to read, or isn’t sure what kind of book they prefer, these kinds of books can provide either quick, easy reads or samplings of such. Anthologies of genre awards such as the Hugo Award Showcase, for example, provide a great list of speculative fiction award-winning literature, in short form.
Sales of book hard copies have not dived as precipitously as publishers first thought they would when ereaders and tablets first came on the scene. Some would attribute this to digital fatigue, or people wanting to reduce their screen time. Whatever the reason, this means that readers can still find paperback copies of almost any book priced competitively–and sometimes better than–ebooks, especially if one buys a used copy of a book.
Many more self-published books (i.e., published by authors) than traditionally-published (i.e., published by companies):
Although most readers, especially the tepid or too-busy ones, don’t know how to determine whether a book is traditionally- or self-published, and probably don’t care, they should realize that knowing how a book was published can increase their chances of finding a book they’d like to read, just by looking at the cover and/or first few inside pages. Self-published books are edited and marketed differently than traditionally-published books, so if someone wants something to read that is probably more “indie” or “alternative,” they’re more likely to find that in a self-published book. Self-published books also don’t go through the extensive vetting process that traditionally-published books do, so there is a much wider spectrum of writing abilities to be found in that category as well. Thankfully, there are many more online review sites and media resources available to help them find a read they would enjoy. They just need to be savvy with a few particular hashtags and URLs, like #bookstagrammer on Instagram or #[genre] on Twitter (where [genre] equals your genre of choice). Also, I wrote about how to get custom book reviews here.
So What Does This Mean?
Maybe it does all come down to giving you, if you’re a tepid or too-busy would-be reader, a list of those sites, hashtags, and social media groups. Whatever the methodology, this is a truth that will hopefully one day be universally acknowledged: that everyone can benefit from reading more books, and any effort expended by you is worth it for that reason.