Too Many Books, Too Little Time: The Paradox of the Modern Reader

Arush Sharma
2 min readApr 15, 2024


There’s a treasure trove of knowledge and entertainment out there, but for book lovers, it can feel more like a never-ending ocean. The sheer volume of books being published can be overwhelming, leaving us with a nagging question: are there simply too many books in the world?

Let’s face it, even the most dedicated reader can only consume so much. Imagine this:

  • If the average reader finishes a book every 2–3 weeks (~20 per year), that’s roughly 1,000 books across a 50-year reading life.
  • Now consider that according to UNESCO, over 2.2 million new titles are published globally every year
  • That is 110 MM titles over 50 years reading life
  • That is 0.00090% — not considering the books published in the past

It’s a sobering comparison.

The problem isn’t a lack of great writing. There are phenomenal new books published every day, pushing boundaries and offering captivating escapes. But the publishing machine seems focused on quantity over quality.

Major publishing houses prioritize constant output, aiming to churn out titles and hoping a few will stick. This translates to editors and publicists drowning in submissions, with less time and resources dedicated to each book. The consequence? Authors grapple with a lack of support, and deserving titles get lost in the shuffle.

What readers crave is a curated experience. We don’t need an endless stream of unvetted choices. Imagine a publishing landscape where editors act as gatekeepers, ensuring quality over quantity. A world where resources are invested in promoting existing titles, and marketing isn’t a numbers game.

The solution lies in a shift in focus. We need publishers who prioritize careful selection and nurture the books they choose.

It’s about recognizing books as works of art, not mass-produced widgets.

After all, isn’t that what truly excites readers — discovering a book that sparks their imagination and stays with them long after the last page?

In the age of information overload, curation is key. Let’s move away from the “more is more” mentality and celebrate the power of a well-chosen book.