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Why Aren’t People Buying Much Fiction These Days?

nytimes.com – Saturday November 17, 2018

Ask any publisher or bookseller, and they’ll tell you: People aren’t buying novels these days.

It’s not a new phenomenon. Fiction sales have waxed and waned over the decades. When they plummeted over 100 years ago, in 1914, one article in The Times speculated that “the diminutive size of the typical modern apartment, frequent removals, the growing popularity of hotel life, the attractions of golf playing, motoring and ‘the movies’” had all led to decreased sales. The paper decided that publishers needed to bring out fewer titles: “Why do everything in your power to boost a new book, only to crowd it out a week or a month later with one in which you have no more confidence? This is not the method of the makers of biscuits and chewing gums.”

A second 1914 article suggested that the popularity of tango dancing was interfering with reading time; still another blamed good weather. “If they are having a good time in the fresh air, which the advocates of eugenics tell them is better for them than reading books, it is very difficult to get them back to books,” a publisher lamented to The Times.

To read the full article on nytimes.com, click here

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