25.03.09 Benedicte Page writing in The Bookseller
Publishers, retailers and librarians are missing out on a potential market of 20m consumers because the book world is too intimidating, according to research conducted by HarperCollins, the Trade Publishers Council and the National Year of Reading (NYR).
It found that in many such families, books were seen as alien and unattractive, while reading was considered an anti-social activity for people who, as one respondent said, "don’t know how to live".
Choosing a book in shops and libraries was also a major obstacle for many, the research found, with many of the codes and references setting out where books were located being off-putting for this segment of the population.
Commenting on the research, NYR project director Honor Wilson-Fletcher said: "These are good solid families who don’t have literacy problems but who just don’t read. They are one step away from book-buying - they do consume lots of leisure products and may have 2-300 DVDs in the house.
"But intentionally or otherwise, a lot of people involved in the book world are conveying the impression that reading is associated with a particular area of society and lifestyle."
Meanwhile the NYR’s end-of-year report, published today (24th March), reveals that the year succeeded in significantly upping the number of parents in its target market who read to their children every day.