November 1-15, 2004 Edition

Publishers, NEA Join

Forces to Address

National Reading Crisis

Washington DC/10/25/04—The Association of American Publishers today announced a new partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts to help raise awareness and mobilize public action in the face of the startling decline in book readership which the NEA documented in a report released in July. The report, Reading at Risk, points to an ongoing and significant drop in the number of readers in this country, especially readers of fiction, poetry and drama.

AAP is providing a $19,000 grant to help cover the costs of reprinting the report and to facilitate a nationwide series of “Reading at Risk” presentations at which professional NEA staff members will discuss the study and its implications with groups of educators, policymakers, and scholars at meetings across the country. AAP will also work with the NEA on a second phase of the initiative, to encourage and assist cities across the U.S. in implementing “city reads” programs, and to develop a series of book-focused public service announcements to air on public and commercial radio and TV stations.

“The publishing industry has an obvious interest in reversing this disturbing trend,” said Robert Miller, President of Hyperion Books and Chairman of the AAP Trade Executive Committee. “George Washington said that ‘a knowledge of books is the basis on which all other knowledge rests.’ We know a lot of people share that belief and through this new partnership we hope to reach and energize them.”

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States as well as smaller and medium-sized houses, not-for-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly societies. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field including general fiction and non-fiction, poetry, children’s books, textbooks, Bibles and other religious works, reference works, scientific, medical, technical, professional, scholarly books and journals. The promotion of literacy and the enjoyment of reading, especially among young people, is one of AAP’s highest priorities.