How many books do you suppose have been written since the start of time?
According to a study conducted by Google Books back in 2010, 129,863,880 books had been published since the invention of the printing press in 1440 by German inventor Johannes Gutenberg. This number does not include self-published titles nor books published after 2010. Now with the advent of eBooks and the relative ease of self-publishing, the number of print and online books are set to rise.
Books are big business. According to WordsRated.com, a non-commercial, international research data and analytics group, over 2.2 billion books are sold each year, with the US, UK and China contributing to 72% of this figure. In the US, over 788 million books were sold with over 200 million books sold in the UK in 2021. Having just gone through my amazon account, I raise my guilty hand as a lot of these books were probably purchased by me!
As a young girl, I would curl up on my bean bag in my bedroom and read for hours on end. Before that, as a very young girl, I would pretend to be a librarian and stamp my own books. Now, you will find me squirrelled away on a sofa with a candle and a cup of lemongrass and ginger tea reading for as long as I can get away with it before it's time to cook dinner, walk the dog or spend time with my family.
I love books. I have no idea exactly how many books I have read but going by the fact that I listen on average to at least two audiobooks a week and always have a print book or two on the go, I have read thousands of books in my lifetime.
I’m a keen reader of non-fiction, and over the last three years I’ve read close to 300 business, strategy, personal development, entrepreneurial, mindset, leadership and property-related books. I currently have 150 books waiting to be read next. How do I know this? I keep a spreadsheet mainly to keep track of what I have and on what platform; audible, kindle or print. I also keep an eye on how many books have been penned by women in my own library and consciously seek to up the percentage and tip the literary bias. Currently I am up to 27% which is much better than 21% back in 2019.
Regardless of who’s written the book, I have a lot of reading to do. So why spend my precious time reading books? For me, it’s like a mental gym workout. I keep my body fit so why not the brain too? Reading keeps my mind occupied and healthy. I love learning and I feel better, more motivated, focused and inspired to take intentional action when I read. It helps me to sleep deeper as it calms me down and I feel less stressed. There is also something comforting about holding a physical book in my hands. I love the feel of a book, I love the smell of the pages of a book. How about you? What do you love about books?
Books are in my DNA. So it is fitting that I am finally writing my first book and last weekend I spent five days on a writing retreat alongside four writing buddies. We stationed ourselves in different rooms of the stunning Cornish cottage coming together only for meals and countryside walks. It was absolutely heaven and I could have stayed there for weeks. Having planned my book out and written the first 7,500 words, I am now back home and have continued my writing.
What’s the book about I hear you ask? It’s a non-fiction book on purpose, of course. However, it is also a collaboration with my grandfather who died in 1996. How is that possible? Last year after my grandmother died, going through her lifetime treasures, I found my grandfather’s journal that he had kept between September 1939 and April 1945. For five of these years, he was held in captivity as a prisoner of war. My intention for the book is that together we are going to discuss the meaning of life and significance of living a purposeful life.
It will be the conversation that I wished I could have had with him but was too young to do so when our paths in life crossed. My grandfather is also the podcast guest I would have loved to have had on Focus on WHY. In writing this book, together we will make it happen. Books are magical after all.
Focus on Books!
Action Point: Books are not only good for you, they are magical. Go on, take a moment or two to read a book today!