“81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them — and that they should write it.”
– NY Times, 2002
77 percent of people in the U.S. read a book last year.
– Pew Research, 2014
And yes, that includes ebooks and audiobooks. More people in the U.S. want to write a book than are reading books. There’s a process problem here. Sure, vanity plays into it — the desire to “have written” a book, have a piece of print with your name on it, versus sitting down for hours each day typing words.
But I believe part of the problem is that people aren’t able to find the right books. When you read a book, it’s like finding a message in a bottle that means something to you. Sometimes you want to write a book because nobody’s written the book that you’d like to read. If we were consistently able to find good books we wouldn’t want so badly to write them ourselves.
It’s like the classic process problem: You have the guy who digs the hole, the guy who plants the tree, and the guy who refills the hole. But one day guy No. 2 is sick and doesn’t make it to work and suddenly you have a guy digging a hole and another guy filling it up. Oops.
That’s where the book publishing industry is right now.