Do books count as endangered species?


As a publishing house inside of SAS, we often hear: “Does anyone want to read books anymore?” Especially technical programmers who are “too busy” to read. About a quarter of American adults (24%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. In addition, leisure reading is at an all-time low in the US. However, we know that as literacy expansion throughout the world has grown, it has also helped reduce inequalities across and within countries. Over the years many articles have been published about how books will soon become endangered species, but can we let that happen when we know the important role books play in education?

At SAS, curiosity and life-long learning are part of our culture. All employees are encouraged to grow their skill set and never stop learning! While different people do have different preferred learning styles, statistics show that reading is critical to the development of life-long learners, something we agree with at SAS Press:

  • In a study completed at Yale University, Researchers studied 3,635 people older than 50 and found that those who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than nonreaders or magazine readers. The study stated that the practice of reading books creates a cognitive engagement that improves a host of different things including vocabulary, cognitive skills, and concentration. Reading can also affect empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which all help people stay on the planet longer.
  • Vocabulary is notoriously resistant to aging, and having a vast one, according to researchers from Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela, can significantly delay the manifestation of mental decline. When a research team at the university analyzed vocabulary test scores of more than 300 volunteers ages 50 and older, they found that participants with the lowest scores were between three and four times more at risk of cognitive decay than participants with the highest scores.
  • One international study of long-term economic trends among nations found that, along with math and science, “reading performance is strongly and significantly related to economic growth.”

Putting life-long learning into practice

Knowing the importance that reading plays, not only in adult life-long learning with books, SAS has been working hard to improve reading proficiency in young learners — which often ties directly to the number of books in the home, the number of times parents read to young learners, and the amount adults around them read themselves.

High-quality Pre-K lays the foundation for third-grade reading proficiency which is critical to future success in a knowledge-driven economy. — Dr. Jim Goodnight

With all the research pointing to why reading is so important to improving your vocabulary and mental fortitude, it seems only telling that learning SAS through our example-driven, in-depth books would prove natural.

So to celebrate #endangeredspecies day and help save what some call an “endangered species,” let’s think about:

  • What SAS books have you promised yourself you would read this year?
  • What SAS books will you read to continue your journey as a life-long learner?
  • What book do you think will get you to the next level of your SAS journey?

Let us know in the comments, what SAS book improved your love of SAS and took you on a life-long learner journey?

For almost thirty years SAS Press has published books by SAS users for SAS users. Want to find out more about SAS Press? For more about our books and some more of our SAS Press fun, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll get all the latest news and exclusive newsletter discounts. Also, check out all our new SAS books at our online bookstore.

Other Resources:
About SAS: Education Outreach
About SAS: Reading Proficiency
Poor reading skills stymie children and the N.C. economy by Dr. Jim Goodnight


About Author

Missy Hannah

Senior Associate Social Media Specialist

Missy Hannah is a Social Media Specialist at SAS where she specializes in social listening, social network analysis, data analytics, and social media strategies. She is currently finishing her doctorate at North Carolina State University in Communication, Rhetoric & Digital Media where she also teaches classes in web development and business communication. For fun, she loves nature walks, photography, and playing video games at home with her husband and two cats.


  1. It does seem like the world has moved on to video for learning. But just this week I was searching my library for a book that I realized I had lent to someone. I wanted to sit down and cry. See the problem is that I could remember what the cover looked like but didn't recall its name. Books are important!

    • Leonid Batkhan

      For me replacing books with videos is like going back from computer hard drives (direct access) to tape drives (sequential access). Books are near-direct access media that you can browse fairly quickly to find what you are looking for. Videos, on the other hand, are sequential access media that you can't browse, you either watch them patiently, or don't. They are still useful for learning totally new material, but who is going to spend 2 hours watching a video to only find a useful piece of information somewhere between 100 and 105 minutes!

      • Missy Hannah
        Missy Hannah on

        I agree with this as well, Leonid & Tricia! Who hasn't fast forwarded through a video to get to what you actually need? But, what if I missed something I needed in all that space? I prefer books as well and just recently got a Kindle. The find feature is awesome for technical manuals.

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