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"Funding bookstores, why we need to read, and more!" by SaraJane Devereaux

According to Google, 54% of students under the age of 12 read less than 15 minutes per day and read less than 15 books per year. 18% of students under and over the age of 12 read 30 minutes or more a day. High schoolers average reading about 25 books a year, meaning they read about 2 books a month. 25% of adults don’t even read one book a year, but the other 75% that do read, read between 1-6 books a month.


The growing industry of E-books is out-numbering the sales of hardcover and paperback books from independent bookstores all over our country. This means that we’re finding that indie bookstores are having to close their doors or fire employees, despite the bookselling business being a loving environment that has mostly kind and positive people in it. More than 1,000 bookstores had to close between 2000 and 2007. It varies on how many books are sold from a bookstore in a year depending on how much business the store gets. It’s unclear what a year in a life of a bookseller will look like. One day, they might be making good money and have enough to fund their life. Other days, they might lose their job.


Amazon is an easy place to get books. Lots of people can easily put the name of the book in the search bar and do a “Click-to-add” and then the book is on its way. In a year, Amazon makes at least 26% of the book market, according to oedb.org. This means that Amazon is yet again receiving money it doesn’t need. It’s important to remember this.


Literacy is important. We learn this while we’re young. In my elementary school, I had to read at least 30 minutes a day and log it. If we passed each quiz on a book, we would get points which would add to a bigger thing, and in the end, we would get praised and a prize. I don’t think that was the right thing to do. I don’t think that rewarding children for something they should already be doing are a good thing. We stopped getting rewards for reading, and some of the other kids in my class stopped reading altogether.


As I continued to get older, I realized that reading wasn’t “cool.” What I really should have realized was that teenagers were and are more addicted to their phones than they were when I was younger. I think that’s the number one reason that reading isn’t considered cool anymore. I also think that the culture we live in promotes electronics far too much. I wish it wasn’t like that.


Picking the right book to read is also important. I stopped enjoying reading as I got older and older. I now have a love of reading and read, on average, about 7 books a month, which is more than most teenagers around my age. I found that a lot of the books I was reading were not the right genre for me. I didn’t want to read about a historical hero who had slaves, I wanted to read about a fairy who defeated a dragon, or a wizard who went to a school of wizardry. I think that all too often, our society pressures teenagers into thinking that they can’t read something that will spark imagination. Our society also teaches teenagers that they shouldn’t have an imagination, which is wrong and having an imagination can help with improvisation and future jobs.


Choosing the right genre to read is also important. Teenagers should experiment with main genres that aren’t particularly non-fiction. We learn a lot about our history in school. Reading should feel like a brain break. It should feel like when you decide to watch a movie. It should be something you like. Now, if you like non-fiction, then read non-fiction! But don’t feel pressured to read about our founding fathers if you’re more interested in reading about how princesses have dark sides.


Funding bookstores is essential, especially while we’re in the middle of opening up our world and country. For people in the USA (and maybe some other places), you can check out all these bookstore links that I have linked below. Instead of buying a book from Amazon, think about buying a book from Barnes and Noble or an indie bookstore near you. Here are some good indie bookstores:


https://www.bluewillowbookshop.com/

https://bookshop.org/shop/mysteriousbookshop

https://www.rdbooks.org/

https://bookshop.org/shop/kindredstories

https://bookshop.org/shop/storiesla


I would like to remind you that you can also go to your local library to find books. This is a way that I get most of my books to read, although I shop at Barnes and Noble quite a bit because I live in a city with little to no bookstores. It’s also free, so those who might have money as a concern can always find a book at the library!


Remember: reading is essential!



Sources:


https://www.rd.com/article/do-you-read-more-books-than-average-american/

https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/12-stats-on-the-state-of-bookstores-in-america-today/

https://irisreading.com/how-many-books-does-the-average-person-read/

https://www.startawildfire.com/amazon-sales-ranking-calculator

https://www.weareteachers.com/staggering-statistics-about-struggling-readers-and-reading-growth/



SaraJane Devereaux (Pronounced: Dev-Er-Row) is from Las Vegas, Nevada. SaraJane has a passion for reading and tends to read almost anything she can get her hands on. She has been making up stories for a long time, between telling stories with a pencil and paper or acting it out in front of her family, she's a storyteller at heart. Right now, SaraJane is focused on writing what her heart wants, but she wants to be a screenwriter as her career. She has been published on Blue Things Zine, Feed Us With Words, and SAST, just to name a few. She hopes that the world realizes that it's okay to still be obsessed with Hamilton in 2021. ​


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