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EDITORIAL: Price of books not included

Some people are trading in spa retreats for reading retreats.

Initially, we think this is a great trend. 

The retreat is in Suffolk, England, in either a cottage in the country or near the seaside where readers can pay 450 euros to spend three nights in absolute reading privacy. No children to pester you, no spouses to nag, and no responsibilities breathing over your shoulder as you desperately try to finish a chapter.

Emma Jane Kirby from BBC Radio 4 visited with the founder of the Reading Retreat this month to learn more about the retreat. It was started when co-founder Cressida realized that going to a spa would be relaxing, but she would “get her books soggy.” 

In 2016, the American Time Use Survey discovered that Americans were reading for pleasure a mere 21 minutes a weekday. 

However, this can differ among levels of education. The survey discovered that those with a college education read for pleasure at least 2.5 times more during a weekday than people who barely or didn’t achieve a high school diploma. 

While the average time spent reading has declined over the years, the average time spent watching television has increased. As of 2015, the average American spends almost 3 hours per day watching TV

Another statistic to be taken into consideration is the age of readers. There was a drastic increase of almost an extra 20 minutes of reading per day between the ages of 55 to 75. 

It is important to understand that in recent times, those with jobs are spending more time working than ever before. Also, sleep has become a more important factor in our day to day lives

The Wall Street Journal conducted a survey on how Americans spend their time between 2003 and 2015. People are working more, sleeping more, and spending less time on leisurely activities. The need for rest is evident, but we are spending our resting time sleeping rather than indulging in other restful activities. 

A reading retreat would be great for people who enjoy spending their leisurely time reading rather than participating in other activities. However, we don’t think people should have to pay 450 euros in order to do that. That is approximately $552 USD. 

Sure, this cost pays for the housing fees, utilities and the assurance that no one will bother you, but can’t people do the same thing by booking an Airbnb or motel for the weekend and turning their phones off? 

People are having a hard time managing their time, but they shouldn’t pay half a grand to convince themselves they can have free time.       

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