Greetings from the IU news desk in the prestigious but entirely fictional BlackBox Tower Complex. It’s our job to track down the news, grab it by the ankles, and hold it upside down until the truth drops out of its pockets.
It’s a dangerous job that takes our staff to far-flung corners of the internet. Our crack team of reporters wade through a digital jungle of pop-up ads and 404 errors to get to the bottom of whatever it is that got their undies in a bunch in the first place.
Remember, NewsBites is the official news snack of the junior auxiliary astronaut team, whose proud motto is: We may not have been in space, but we are willing to go.
Our theme today, and a concern for many authors, is the declining number of men who read. A study commissioned by the Reading Agency finds that 63% of men rarely read. Once again, the study methodologies are not discussed – or maybe they were and I just didn’t read far enough. If they want people to pay attention to these studies, they should make them into television shows or something:
“Nearly three quarters of the men surveyed said they would opt for the film or television adaptation of a book, whereas the same percentage of women were as likely to go for the book itself.”
Men do read, of course. Our areas of interest may not be as far-ranging as those of women. For example, in addition to limericks scrawled on bathroom stalls, men are big consumers of sports magazines. In an obvious ploy to exploit this information, J.K. Rowling will now turn sportswriter to report on the outcomes of Quidditch matches.
Still, one cannot help but wonder why male readership is decreasing when eBooks make it so much easier and convenient to read. It seems another study has found reading comprehension higher among middle-grade children who read print books as opposed to those who read eBooks. The study finds:
“…young readers often skipped over the text altogether, engaging instead with the books’ interactive visual features.”
The same thing happened to me with a certain magazine I used to read when I was a teenager. Ahem – moving along…
As I like to say, admitting the problem is the first step. The Guardian has a list of books for men who do not like to read. I looked at their list and disagree with every single selection. Perhaps they meant the books would be perfect for men who won’t read them anyway because they can use them to squish bugs or throw at burglars.
I don’t have a lot of confidence in some of these studies. As someone once said, “We find the truth we seek,” or in the case of studies, we find the truth you fund. Regardless, my skepticism is well-founded in real-life experience in conducting studies. One thing I can tell you is that people lie. Take this study, which purports to identify the average number of lies people tell each day. How did they draw their conclusions? They asked people how many lies per day they told. I wonder if the respondents were honest.
But if digital books and print books have failed to captivate male readers, all is not lost. Fortunately, there is a company that prints whole books on tee shirts. We might as well put the print where the guys are already looking.
That’s it for this round of NewsBites. Join us next time when we survey staff reactions to their new tee shirts.