Picturesque fields of spring wildflowers haven’t been the only thing blooming here in South Central Texas lately. My observation is based on achieving a new personal best record by attending four local library book sales in three days in Schulenburg, La Grange, Weimar and Columbus. This memorable experience made me think about the pastime of reading.
A Good Time to be a Reader
There was no shortage of used, gently-handled books on topics of all kinds. Prices couldn’t be beaten either. Inventory had mushroomed over the past three years because COVID had prevented libraries from hosting their annual sales.
In fact, the Nesbitt Library in Columbus was so overwhelmed by donations that a message posted on the conference room door pleaded: “PLEASE don’t drop any more books. We are full!”
Each location reported that sales were steady and few people left empty-handed. Even though buyers took home hundreds of titles, some of the books boxes stashed in boxes under the tables never made it to the prime browsing range on top. That’s how bountiful the supply was!
As usual, proceeds were earmarked for the respective library’s programs.
E-readers Haven’t Replaced Printed Books
Some news coverage might lead you to believe that we’ve become a society that relies totally on e-readers. That’s not the case. People of all ages still enjoy printed books. Some read fiction or non-fiction for pleasure. Others want to learn or augment their knowledge and skillsets, especially those associated with their hobbies. Self-help and motivational titles are also popular draws.
According to statistics from statista.com that profile the habits of U.S. adult readers, e-books dropped in popularity to 25% in 2019. That means 75% of us still read the old-fashioned way. Of course, some readers may read digital books as well as pulp and paper copies. Statistics
Reading: Still a Favorite Pursuit
So how what percentage of our population reads books in any format? According to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan American think-tank based in Washington, D.C., a survey conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021, found that 76% of U.S. adults had read a book they held in their hands, opened digital content on an e-reader, or listened to an audiobook. PEW RESEARCH STATS
Staging a book sale is a massive undertaking that’s only successful because hardworking volunteers and library staff members believe in the power of the printed word. They not only undertook the heavy lifting of toting and arranging the book sale event but also aided and abetted readers like me who had a seemingly insatiable appetite to own and read more books. Thank you!
I’m not bashing digital books. In fact, I have several e-books on my tablet. However, the pleasure of holding a book in my hands takes me to a happy place. It always has.
I was a toddler who dragged around dog-eared copies of my favorite Little Golden Books instead of a security blanket. I’ve never lost that small child’s sense of wonder and enchantment discovered long ago between the covers of an open storybook. I find it still is waiting for me.
Readers, how about you?
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- The Old Philosopher of New Dubina - March 10, 2023
- Farewell to the Farm - February 17, 2023
- Feeding Winston’s Cows in 1973 - January 20, 2023
I never miss the opportunity of picking up Readers Digest Condensed Books. They expose me to authors I would never have chosen out of a used book tray.
Peter, I like Readers Digest Condensed books, too, for the same reason. At garage sales, I’ll take a chance on a book that I wouldn’t buy otherwise. It’s kind of like they find me! I’ve had some excellent results from taking a chance.
Who knows what sort of info one might find this way.
Yes, it’s the thrill of the hunt!
I recently recharged my Kindle for our trip to DC, but while it is great for travel, nothing beats a nice book in hand. Still the best morning I can think of is to cozy up on my leather Scandanavian chair with a cup of Earl Grey tea and lemon. That is reading!! I do love book sales, but at the moment after a lot of reshuffling, I have to say, I need to get down to catching up with the ones I already have and haven’t yet finished! Sort of glad I “missed” those book sales, but I know I will catch one soon….and be caught again in the great worlds to which only books can transport you. Sending up a word of thanks for great authors…yourself included! You enrich our lives.
Good luck with whittling down your to-be-read pile! What a nice chore. I have to admit that I give a book 50 pages and if I’m not absorbed in the story by that point, it goes in my book recycling bag. It may be just what another reader is looking for! Thanks for the kind words about my stories. I do love to share them.
Elaine, thanks for covering the information about the book sales! I was at the La Grange library book sale recently and bought lots of books to carry me through some months (maybe a year), That sale had not happened for a while and I was so happy and relieved to see it on again. I cannot be without a book to read since I was a child like you. You are a wonderful spokesperson for us who are addicted to books!
Glad you found a stack for your summer reading pleasure! We share the same addiction and isn’t it great? So good to hear from you.
Well said–I could not agree more! I, too, preferred my book friends to “blankies” during my childhood and continue that attitude throughout my life.
Elva, I think we are birds of a feather! I have several books going at all times, as well as an audiobook in my car. Security for me is having a shelf of books I have not yet read. I pass most of my books along to friends, donate to library sales and help restock little libraries that look a little sparse. Reading continues to make my world go round.