Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How many books in your house?

We must have thousands of books in our house, on top of the hundreds (thousands?) we’ve donated to libraries and various book sales over the years.  But are we unusual?

from Hit & Run

The answer is surprisingly hard to find. Data from the 2000 National Survey on Childhood Health indicate an average of 83 children's books in white households (the corresponding numbers for black and Hispanic households were 41 and 33, respectively). I assume adults would tend to have more books than children (although maybe I'm wrong about that), in which case the average would be well above 100. In 2005, according to the Book Industry Study Group, 3.1 billion books were sold in the U.S., about 28 per household.

It’s tempting to dismiss the “average” American as a dumb TV-watching couch potato, but 28 books per household per year seems like a lot to me – even if there are a lot of non-readers out there.   Maybe the voracious readers out there are driving up the averages?

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