This is a promising development:
After years of bemoaning the decline of a literary culture in the United States, the National Endowment for the Arts says in a report that it now believes a quarter-century of precipitous decline in fiction reading has reversed.
The report, “Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy,” being released Monday, is based on data from “The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts” conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2008. Among its chief findings is that for the first time since 1982, when the bureau began collecting such data, the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen.
The NYT article also offers this choice tidbit:
Mr. Gioia said that the decline in book reading might be attributable to a falloff in the reading of nonfiction, although he offered no explicit evidence of that.
Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers, suggested that some people might not count the reading they do online or even on electronic readers like the Kindle as “book” reading.
Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association and university librarian at the University of Richmond, said that the 2008 data would not reflect a recent uptick in circulation at libraries. As the economy has soured, Mr. Rettig said, “people are discovering that you don’t have to spend anything to read a book if you have a library card.”