How do we get more people reading books?

Host:  Mark Pearson


  • There are different demographics:  kids, young adults, adults, and people access books differently – some through libraries, some through bookstores, some through audiobooks.
  • Young people are visual, but not necessarily with the printed page – graphic novels and manga may be more appealing.
  • Audiobooks can enable people with dyslexia to access books.
  • Can books appeal to all the senses?
  • How do we get people into the beginning stages of books and story-telling?
  • Getting more people reading books is an existential question.  We should be format agnostic (audio, print, ebook, large print, zines, etc.).  People have many options for spending their time.  How do we get people to choose books over other options, such as netflix.
  • How can we connect people from all communities with books geared toward them (kids, people of color, different languages)?
  • There has been a lot of research showing how reading books aloud to young children (almost from birth) is a powerful way to help prepare them for success in school.  How can we make the public more aware of that research?
  • Buying books for my granddaughter inspired her to become a book reader.
  • 95% of my book reading is through audiobooks.  (This was echoed by another participant.)
  • There is a person on TikTok who is bringing an adult Scholastic book fair to the Bay Area.  Lots of adults feel nostalgic about those book fairs.
  • Many adults feel that reading is a luxury, even those people who crave books.  A message we can convey is that reading books is a form of self-care.  Remind adults why we love to read.  If adults return they may bring their families with them.
  • Post about what you’re reading on Facebook.  It’s easier to see how I can stimulate reading on a personal level more easily than on a systemic level.
  • Give books as gifts.  Bookclubs of two – give someone a book that’s on your reading list and read it together.
  • Several friends and I have formed an informal book club to read books with a friend who has dementia but is still able to read books.
  • Can Title 1 help kids buy their first books?
  • There’s a lot we can do in the community reading project area, whether it’s book clubs or entire communities.
  • Can we use technology to connect with people who are alone and read books with them?
  • There seems to be a big gender gap in book clubs – not many men are involved in them.
  • Where/how have people been successful in stimulating book clubs?
  • Using zoom or even conference calls can facilitate book club creation across the globe.
  • The local museum purchased books and gave them to community bookstore to give away.  (That bookstore is tiny – about the size of a storage unit.)  That got people to go to that bookstore.  Many had never been there before.  Some people even started following the store on social media.  This has grown and prompted a program to give books to kids – 2nd graders in the community are all reading the same book.
  • A book club in the Palo Alto area created a club for children which includes having the children write and make their own books.

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