5 ways to get reluctant readers to pick up a book


I’m not going to lie. I think people who don’t read are the weirdest people on earth. To be clear, the people I’m talking about are those who have access to books but refuse to read because they think it’s boring.

I think JK Rowling is the one who said this, that it’s not about books being boring and more about finding the right book to connect to.

With the range of formats that are available, I’m a firm believer that there’s a little something for everyone.

Here are a few suggestions regarding what you can do to encourage the reluctant or non-readers in your life to get reading.

Try audio books

These are a great start. Less work for the non-reader because all they have to do is listen.  

The best thing about purchasing novels in audio form is that, like e-books that allow you to download sample chapters to read, you also have the option to listen to a sample of the book so you can find out whether or not you you can tolerate or enjoy the narrator’s voice.

Enhance their reading experience

I’m often surrounded by kids who are quite technologically savvy and what I’m loving is that the publishers are seriously tapping in to this.

In fact Penguin Random House recently sent us a copy of My Little Pony: Where Equestria Comes to Life. What makes this book stand out is that it’s a story with augmented reality elements.

For books like these you download the companion app, open it up and zoom in on sections within and watch as the subjects within the book come to life.

Watch the trailer for the My Little Pony book below for an example of how it works

You don’t have to start with the classics

Look, I appreciate a Jane Austen novel as much as any Jane Austen fan but would I recommend that to someone who isn’t so keen on reading in the first place? Not from the outset, and here’s why:

Think about the person you know – their likes, dislikes, what they watch, what they avoid. If they love something that’s more action-driven, recommending something that’s historical in setting and tone is not going to cut it.

If you want to start with something, begin with a read that’s similar to what’s reflected in their everyday life – something that serves as an extension of what they can most relate to.

Of course you can recommend some good historical fiction if that person is into that kind of thing but consider language structure, and dialogue because even within a genre recommendation, there are potential issues and constraints to consider.

Book been made into a TV series? Let them watch and then create their reading pile

Yes, yes – blasphemy I know. In fact, this goes against everything I usually believe in but considering that you’re trying to get the person in your life to at least pick up a book, a good way to go about it is to introduce them to a visual interpretation of the book.

Granted, it’s not a fool-proof method but it does open up the possibility for an unwilling reader’s curiosity to be sparked, since the enticement of finding out what’s going on between the lines and hasn’t been included in the TV or movie adaptation is a pretty great drawcard.

I can’t even begin to tell you about the amount of people I’ve seen getting into George R. R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series because of the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones.    

Explore short stories and genre-bending novels

Every now and then, I veer away from my full length novels to dip into a novella or collection of short stories. I usually tend to do this because I’m either in a reading slump or simply looking for something quick and different.

If you don’t want to overwhelm someone who isn’t all that keen on reading, introducing them to short stories is a good way to ease them into it. Best of all, a good number of them are available for free (legally) or are dirt cheap.

Another trick, according to Tessafoxreads.com, is to recommend books that combine different genres, something I’m quite a huge fan of and one I’ve seen particularly in the Speculative Fiction genre where I’ve seen the marriage between mystery and steampunk fantasy and an amalgamation of sci-fi with gaslamp fantasy settings.

Books like these are often a gateway that offers elements of something that could lead to that person discovering something within that book they want more of.

At the end of it all, the idea behind this is to gently nudge your non-reading loved one in the direction steeped in fantasy, adventure and so much more.

Do you have a reluctant reader in your life? What tips have helped you to encourage them to read? Share with us and we’ll feature in a future article!

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