Reading Boom: Books and Magazines

December 20, 1961

Report Outline
Lively Market for Books and Magazines
Three Centuries of Reading in America
Effect of Reading Boom on Book Industry

Lively Market for Books and Magazines

A Phenomenal rise in sales of books and in the circulation of magazines is making it increasingly difficult to contend, as used frequently to be done, that the United States is becoming a nation of non-readers. The current boom in books for juveniles likewise seems to expose the needlessness of worrying over whether children are being taught to read. Even television, repeatedly deplored as the thief of reading time for young and old alike, is proving in some cases to act as a spur to reading.

Book sales have been going up steadily for a decade, putting book publishing into the big business category and boosting the value of shares of publishing corporations traded on stock exchanges. On the other hand, growth of the book-buying public has been accompanied by a threat to the retail bookstore in the form of stiff competition from discount sellers. Efforts to adjust to changed conditions in the book market may alter many aspects of book buying and selling.

In a different way, mass readership of the magazines has created problems for their publishers, the chief of which is meeting the costs of large circulations while losing advertising revenue to television. But while the mass-circulation periodicals are having troubles of various kinds, numerous new special-interest journals are entering the field to satisfy the American public's apparently limitless appetite for printed matter.

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