We’re having a good discussion in the comments on my earlier post, but a few people took issue with my suggestion that books are expensive, which makes them less accessible for disadvantaged folks.
I’d like to add to that something else that occurred to me: the rewards of books are less immediate. So even though you can pick up a book for a dollar or less (something I actually did all the time as a high school student) from your library’s used book store, the payoff from that book is slow, and may not come at all until you’ve finished reading it days (or weeks, if you’re busy) later.
If you’re not from a bookish family that values a “scholarly culture,” then you may be less willing to step out on faith that the book is even worth that dollar. And instead, you might spend $10 on something else that you already know will entertain you or make you feel good. And as J notes in the comments, Americans as a whole are reading fewer books every year. In 2007, the Washington Post reported that 27 percent of Americans didn’t read a single book.