Why People Stopped Reading Books (2024)

Fewer people are reading books (or any long form content) today than ever. Why? As someone who sold a lot of books and buys even more books, here are my top theories:

  • Publishing houses, which are controlled by alcoholic CNN watchers, discriminate against men. This leads to fewer great books making it to bookstores, which has a secondary effect of reducing foot traffic into bookstores.

  • Podcast are 3x easier to do and 10x-100x more lucrative.

  • Why write a book for $5 royalty per copy sold when you can Substack? (My current situation.)

We will go into detail on all of the above. But first, some numbers on Big Book.

Fewer people are buying books and most books don’t sell more than 200 copies.

That’s why I tell people, Don’t become a writer.

The Other Side of FearAMA Vol. 1, 2023I stopped doing Twitter AMA’s as the questions tended to get stale and repetitive. This was the first one we’ve had in a while, and while some people got blocked for asking me inappropriate or gossip-based questions, there are some good ones worth typing out…Read morea year ago · 49 likes · 10 comments · Cernovich

You’ll make more money working a second job at a gas station at night, and you can read books during your shift.

If you must write, and can’t not write, then you have the genes or what Steven Pressfield calls the Muse.

Go ahead and write. You have my permission. Just don’t expect to ever make a living doing it.

What is happening to the book market?

Some smart people are near the mark. Both of these gentlemen “have books in them.” I’d read them. They are also avid readers.

Directionally they focus on lack of consumer demand. This is the, “Fewer people read books,” hypotheis. There’s much truth to it.

The question that arises is: Chicken, egg, or both?

Men are reading fewer books. Is this because, “Men don’t want to read,” or are there not many good books for men, based on the hateful ideology prevailing in modern publishing?

Women control publishing, and they hate books by men unless the man hates himself.

When I was considering whether to self-publish my own book in 2015, all of my friends with book deals told me something like this:

No one would publish your book because it’s geared towards helping men. Even Tucker Max had to write an insincere book about why he’s a good reformed boy and worships CNN to get a book deal this time, that’s what it takes now. Don’t even bother. Plus, publishers don’t even promote your book. They make you do all of the work and take a huge cut.

My book sold well, so the talking point that, “Men don’t read books,” is fake. My book was the first mindset book written specifically for men. That’s why it never would have seen a book shelf unless I hit “PUBLISH” myself.

Consider as well the story of someone who isn’t political and isn’t disliked for having bad opinions.

David Goggins had to self-publish Don’t Hurt Me.

Why People Stopped Reading Books (10)

I remember listening to the audiobook version of Don’t Hurt Me at the YMCA. I had to find a corner when he started talking about the child abuse he faced as a child. Legit started crying and had to get away. Don’t Hurt Me is one of the most beautiful books by anyone.

In what world would someone say, “We have a book by a Navy SEAL who is a black man. He goes deep into mindset, purpose, and motivation. But he doesn’t hide from his past and shares authentic and traumatic memories. He got beat up badly about a kid. You’re going to cry while reading this. Oh and he’s a legit bad ass.”

I would have bought that book so fast for whatever he asked for.

The kind of women who control publishing only want to hear from men who hate themselves. All that “woke” stuff about promoting black voices is fake. They’ll only promote male voices who hate themselves.

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton gets millions-of-dollars for books that don’t sell.

Why men don’t go to bookstores anymore.

I buy a lot of books. Some high brow and others more focused on extreme stories of men in impossible situations. I do not go to bookstores much anymore.

Even the kids section is political propaganda.

Who go into a bookstore when you’re bombarded by agitprop?

Books like these should be displayed prominently.

Podcasting is easier and more lucrative.

It’s 3x easier to talk than to write. You make 10x to 100x podcasting. Steven Crowder was offered $50,000,000 to do video commentary. Joe Rogan is making $500,000,000 or so, depending on who you believe. That’s JK Rowling money.

Even mid-level podcasters are earning more than all but the successful authors.

People want “content.”

Would you rather read a great book once or read and listen to “pretty good” stuff more frequently.

The market has spoken. Quantity over quality, as long as it’s better-than-average quality.

Why publish a book when you can Substack?

Book royalties vary, but $5-10 per copy is in range. You get that once per book format (kindle, print, audio). Write a book, hoping it sells, and then getting royalty checks every 90 days (if you’re lucky)… Or you can write on Substack and make a sustainable income with steady cash flow that you can create a budget around.

There are a lot of people with medium-sized Substacks who are making significantly more than they would by writing a “real book.”

Why write a book when it’s easier to podcast, and you get instant feedback (and dopamine) from pushing regular Substacks.

The economics favor different mediums.

And why degrade yourself by kissing the feet of alcoholics in publishing houses who watch CNN and believe it?

I may do another book soon.

Until then, sign up for my Substack.

Why People Stopped Reading Books (2024)
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