Yesterday I posted an infographic about the reading habits of Americans after high school college. I mentioned in my post that it was interesting “if the stats in the infographic are correct,” which is a needed caveat for these notoriously unreliable infographics. And several people did question whether these stats could possibly be correct. So I looked into them a bit more, which didn’t take long since the infographic’s own creator has updated information on his blog.
The short version is that the stats in the infographic are not as authoritative as they appear, but they still reflect an interesting perspective on the state of reading in America. Here are the facts:
- The stats do not come from a study by the Jenkins Group, a publishing services firm, as indicated at the bottom of the infographic.
- The stats apparently come from a presentation that the founder of the Jenkins Group once made to an industry group.
- The stats cannot be fact-checked because the presentation was made about 10 years ago and it appears that no one has the source material.
The end result is that the stats from the infographic should not be cited authoritatively since they cannot be substantiated. But no one seems to be questioning that the data accurately summarizes information presented by someone who knows the publishing industry quite well (and who at least claimed in the original presentation to have drawn the information from reputable sources). From my perspective, that means the information in the infographic still represents an interesting perspective on American reading habits from a reliable person. Granted, that is different from the information generated by a quantitative study, but still worth reflecting on.
Nonetheless, Robb Brewer, the infographic’s creator, has replaced the original infographic with a new one that strives to present information about American readings habits substantiated by more reliable sources. So here is the new version.