By Richard Milner, Sept. 8, 2022 1:21 pm EDT
Alright, it’s time to talk text. Way back before people assumed that you could compress meaningful explanations into Tweet-sized blurbs, people read these super long tweets called “books,” and, uh … oh, you know those? The truth is, judging by the numbers, plenty of people still love cozying up to a piece of fiction, non-fiction, paperback, hardback, whatever, and having some peace of mind. It’s estimated that book sales will rise to $129 billion in the U.S. in 2023 alone (via Statista). Publishers’ Weekly reports that unit sales rose from 757.9 million to 825.7 million from 2020 to 2021. That’s individual books, mind you, an insane figure considering all the bugbear “death of publishing” rumors of yesteryear.
Globally, literacy is at an historical high. Back in 1800, only 12% of the global population could read, as Our World In Data shows. As of 2016, that number was 86.25%. Some countries like Finland, Ukraine, and Czechia for all intents and purposes have 100% literacy rates, per World Population Review. This doesn’t mean that people in those countries or elsewhere are actually reading every day, but judging by the aforementioned publishing figures, it seems like folks still love books.
So how many books do you have in your personal library? If you have to pause and count them, then congratulations. But no matter how many you’ve got, you definitely have less than the Harvard University Library, which has a jaw-dropping 21.8 million titles (via Guinness World Records).