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Men Don’t Read

Wired magazine has a report on what men between the ages of 18-34 do and do not do.  They love the internet and short forms of non human communication (66%) and video games (60%) and do not like to read books (46%) or magazine (43%) or go to bars (33%) or see movies (20%).  So essentially it seems that that they like using their hands to interact with people through an electronic medium which craters my idea of selling books as a way to get laid to increase male readership. 

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Keishon
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 09:27:56

    My two brothers are in that statistic of the “do not read” type of men. But they read taffic signs and know how to read their bills. Does that not count for something?

  2. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 09:36:43

    Wow. All the guys I know in that age range (which includes most of my friends, my brother, and most of his friends) read, go to bars, love movies, and play video games.


    This sounds like that old chestnut about how young people don't vote. Who are these disenfranchised slackers? Everyone I know votes, and we have all exercised that right since we were first eligible to do so.

  3. Jaci Burton
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 09:58:03

    Both my sons, who are in their mid to late 20’s, read voraciously, interact with their friends in person, and love going to movies.

    I always knew they were odd. ;-)

  4. Mireya
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:26:56

    My husband is not in that age range any longer but at that age range he did read (and still does, almost as much as I do), he played computer and video games (and still does. We both are fans of computer gaming, MMOs and video games), we have subscription to Netflix for him as I barely watch movies, plus we are subscribed to several cable premium services because of him (he grew up in front of a t.v., the t.v. was pretty much his nanny), he doesn’t go to bars anymore but he used to at that age.

    Of course, I did know that it took a whack job to understand another whack job (me).

  5. MD
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:42:25

    Did the report make any distinction between young men who were or were not introduced to books at a very young age by parents who read to them nightly? Whose parents took them frequently to libraries and let them drag home a huge pile of books to read? Whose parents could often be seen, themselves, sitting around reading when they had the free time, and sometimes even when they didn’t?

    I think all those things make a huge difference in how a boy looks at reading. My son was surrounded by books as a child, read to nightly, and while he went through a brief period in high school where he didn’t read much, now at 22 he reads as voraciously as his father still does at 47.

    I wonder how many at-home moms currently read to their children? Are daycare centers stuffed to overflowing with books?

    My best memories of my childhood are those of my mother reading the Anne of Green Gables series and the Margaret Sutton mysteries aloud to me, until I learned to devour them on my own. I let my son watch a little too much tv (which I regret now) but I think at least some of the damage was lessened by the emphasis on reading.

  6. Jill Sorenson
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:44:01

    Young men don’t go to bars? Really? Then where do they get their drink on?

    My husband is in the top of that age range, and he doesn’t read (fiction anyway, and what else counts?) but he doesn’t go to bars, surf the net, write text messages, or play videogames, either. So I guess I’ll keep him. : )

  7. Sparky
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:53:19

    Ah damn it, I fail at being male again :P

    Alright I KNEW my devouring books wasn’t common among men, but going to the pub isn’t? C’mon I thought my live-killing drinking at least was a male stereotype. Damn it, I’m going to have to develop an interest in sports or something at this rate. At least the net is going in my favour

  8. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:00:28

    Man, my husband is weird, too. He isn’t a voracious reader, but he’s been known to pick up a book from time to time. And he loves movies. Hmmm…he’s 35, though. Think that explains it?

  9. JulieLeto
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:01:13

    I have two brothers near that age range. (One is 35 and one is 36). Neither of them reads. One plays video games. The other is only into outdoor activities. Neither goes to bars…though one is married, so that explains THAT.

    My eldest brother (47) reads voraciously and obviously, so do I. Our parents both read and always have. I wonder what changed for that generation to make them less likely to turn to books for entertainment. The biggest difference is that my older brother and I had our formative years in a “tougher” neighborhood and went exclusively to private school. My younger brothers grew up during the time after we’d moved to a more upscale neighborhood and both attended public schools. All of us have college degrees, though the two youngest went on sport’s scholarships.


  10. azteclady
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:20:31

    Let me see… my son is 20 and has never stopped reading since he learned. My three brothers are out of that age range now, but they have been avid readers all their lives as well. My significant other, same. My very best friend ever, the same.

    At a couple of boards I visit the number of male and female readers seems evenly split…

  11. Corrine
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:30:55

    None of my male cousins (ages ranging from 11-36) are big readers. The 19-yr-old has read 2 books in his entire life. Nor do the ones old enough to drink go to bars (and one is 21), but all of them play video games. It’s actually kind of funny that this comes up now, because I was having a mildly heated debate on another board about whether or not playing video games makes a guy more childish (IMO, yes).

  12. (Jān)
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:06:25

    Heh, when my husband was in the hospital recently and I asked him what he wanted from home, he said “Underwear, my toothbrush, and a Janet Evanovich novel.” Some guys know what the necessities are. ;D

  13. Sunita
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:14:58

    I don’t get that headline at all. Why not “men don’t like to go to bars,” since fewer men said they did that than read.

    If 46% of 18-34 year old men name reading as a hobby, that’s not bad, considering all the doomsday scenarios about our reading habits.

  14. Jane
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:21:48

    @Sunita: Because that was the headline of the Wired magazine story.

  15. Sunita
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:27:48


    Sorry, I was unclear. I meant, why did Wired make it the headline? I understand why you did, given DA’s focus and what we all find interesting. But I thought the original was odd, especially since it wasn’t primarily a story about whether men read, but what they say their hobbies are. 46 percent is closer to a majority than to “a few.”

    What struck me about the survey was the low number of men who claimed to go to bars (I guess I just knew all of them when I was in that demographic), and the fact that 69 percent of them claimed they could live without TV.

  16. Randi
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:56:10

    As a data miner, I can tell you that you can pretty much make statistics say anything you want. ;) I had a friend once that had a great saying about statistics: They are like a bikini-they hide just as much as they show.

  17. Kalen Hughes
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 16:36:49

    Lies, damn lies . . . and then there are statistics. I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes.

  18. Laura
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 17:50:14

    Missing from those results is the conclusion that 100% of men surveyed like to spend their time by participating in silly surveys about how men like to spend their time.

  19. veinglory
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 21:21:06

    A survey with no details that I could see about how they collected the sample. Hmmm. Generally I don’t find them up to much. i.e. 50 people who visited our website last Tuesday etc.

  20. cheexburger
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 09:38:37

    BooksOnBoard has 51% Rewards Dollars back on eBooks this weekend. Oct 10-12. (this special is also available to men)

  21. Truth, Radio, & Halloween | Literary Escapism
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 10:31:21

    […] just saw this over at Urban Fantasy Land and found it somewhat amusing – Isn't it ironic? Men Don't Read, but 7 of the 10 World's Best Paid Authors are men.  Why is it amusing?  Easy, I know more men […]

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