Over the last month or so I’ve had a few conversations with people that have got me thinking. In the pub over New Years someone mentioned a statistic that struck me.
10% of people are responsible for 85% of books purchased.
|London Tube Commuters|
Now, this was a slightly drunken discussion so I don’t know where he got these numbers, how accurate they are or how it was calculated, but my first thought was that it wasn’t right. There are loads of people who read – any commuter train or tube in London will have dozens of people reading either kindle or book in order to pass the time to work. I would have thought it would be higher than 10%. But since then, I’ve noticed it’s always the same people I see reading – the girl who sits across from me who is making her way through The Game of Thrones series and the suit guy who always has the latest booker prize shortlisted book. Is it really only a small number people of responsible for most book purchases?
I know some people who only read magazines and papers and would never pick up a book. Other people don’t even print if they can help it. And then there’s me: I have a huge number of books in my small flat. And I buy most of them – a few are giveaway wins and one or two swaps, but most of them I purchase with my own money. I even feel like I’m in withdrawal if I got a whole week without visiting a bookshop or surfing Amazon. I easily fit into the 10%. So much so that one person upon hearing how many books I owned that I haven’t read (about 350 at last count but probably more in reality!), asked if I would ever read them all. I have enough books to continue reading at my current rate for the next three years or so before I run out. I would assume that most book bloggers would also fall into this category, from definition.
So is it an obsession? Are those of us in that 10% addicted to buying books? It may not be as bad as drugs or alcohol but a lot of our time is spent thinking about next fix and money disappears into the hands of publishing houses and booksellers.
What are your thoughts? Do a small number of people contribute to the majority of sales? Can we ever read all those books? I know I want to read all mine eventually!