Over the past fifteen years, Americans have been devoting less and less time to casual reading. There are a couple reasonable theories about why this is happening, however one reason stands out the most.

Over the past fifteen years, Americans have been devoting less and less time to casual reading. There are a couple reasonable theories about why this is happening, however one reason stands out the most. Advancements in entertainment technology are to blame for the downward trend in time spent casual reading.
Casual reading is less popular now than it was fifteen years ago because it is being shoved aside by things like: TV, Smartphones, and all the apps that come with them. Companies such as Netflix and Amazon now offer thousands of movies and shows at the click of a button. This ease of access gives people choices they did not have fifteen years ago. Because of this, people are choosing the remote over the book in their free time. According to a 2017 study, the average American spent around 2 hours and 45 minutes per day watching TV and spent only 17 minutes on casual reading. Also, over the last fifteen years, time spent casual reading has dropped by more than 30%. During the same fifteen-year stretch, time spent watching TV has gone up significantly. These statistics are no coincidence and microeconomics can be used to explain why they are related.
Reading has declined among Americans due to the decreasing marginal benefit of time spent reading a book. As technology continues to advance, people are getting less satisfaction out of reading because time spent reading takes away from time that could be spent on an electronic device. The large disparity between time spent reading and time spend watching TV prove this. It is interesting that books and TV shows alike have become more easily accessible over the last fifteen years, yet time spent reading has gone down and time spent watching TV has gone up. In terms of marginal analysis, the person has two options. The first option is to spend more time reading and less time watching TV. The second option is to spend more time watching TV and less time reading. When examining the data, it appears the average American gets more utility out of watching TV than reading a book. Understanding the marginal utility gained from each activity explains why people are dedicating more time to watching TV and less time to reading books.