According to Literature in Britain Today, a recent survey* by the Royal Society of Literature , 25% of adults have not read something they consider literature in the past 6 months. Of course, the good news is this means 75% of adults have. Also encouraging is that, of those who haven’t read any literature in the past 6 months, 56% would like to in the future. And, overall, 84% of adults surveyed would like to read more literature in future.
The survey found the factor most likely to encourage more reading of literature is book recommendations (named by 26% of those surveyed). So that got me thinking – how can book bloggers help with this?
Continue to do what we do
None of us are likely to stop reading any time soon and hopefully a lot of us will continue to share our reviews, ratings and recommendations on our blogs.
Go where the people are
Even the most successful book blogs can’t match the readership of the big book review sites such as Goodreads and Amazon. Ensuring we add our reviews to these mass participation platforms is crucial to communicating to the greatest number of potential readers.
Reach out beyond the blogosphere
Confession time – before I started blogging I was unaware there was such a large community of book bloggers or they could be a source of book reviews and recommendations. This is despite being a prolific reader and a member of Goodreads for many years. So up until a few months ago, my reading wasn’t influenced at all by the book blogging community (obviously that has changed drastically now!). My instinct is the majority of followers of my blog are other book bloggers and this is likely to be the same for them. To connect with the 26% is going to mean reaching out via other channels as well. Those book bloggers who are already using Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are probably leading the way in this.
Time is of the essence
One of the other major barriers cited by survey respondents wanting to read more was lack of time. Book bloggers can help by making a point of reviewing and recommending short books of any genre whether classics, short stories, etc.
People like what they know
If you’re a non-reader or occasional reader looking to read more, you’re probably not going to want to delve into War and Peace (great book though it is) or a stylistically experimental novel. So blog articles along the lines of “If you like x, try y”, “10 best books for [genre]fans” or “If you like [genre] movies, try these books” can provide helpful signposts for people wanting to read more but not sure where to start.
I’m certainly going to bear the 26% in mind when blogging in future. I’d love to hear your ideas about how the book blogging community can help reach non-readers or those wishing to read more.
*You can read the full survey here