God Plays Dice has a good post on that story about people not reading books anymore.
So what do we know about the distribution? One-quarter of people read no books; one-quarter read between one and four; one-eighth read between four and seven; three-eighths read more.
They claim a 3% margin of error, as well, which is standard for polls involving a thousand people (as this one was), but that margin of error only applies to the survey as a whole. The article includes a lot of claims of the form “Xs read more than Ys”, but the number of Xs or Ys that were polled is less than a thousand, so the margin of error is greater.
It seems hard to get these numbers, though. The article claims that “In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled “Reading at Risk” found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade. The study faulted television, movies and the Internet.” (Emphasis mine.) If you interpret both of these claims at face value, 18 percent of non-readers have been converted to readers in the last five years. This seems unlikely.
As the post goes on to point out, a “book” is not the best unit for measuring how much one has read. Sitting just to the left of my computer are Hector Avalos’ The End of Biblical Studies (2007), three Sandman books by Neil Gaiman — Death: The High Cost of Living (1993), The Dream Hunters (1999) and Endless Nights (2003) — and Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji (c. 1007). No two of these books represent exactly the same time investment!