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Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from

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Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2014, 08:03
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  55% (hard)

Question Stats:

65% (01:45) correct 35% (01:46) wrong based on 418 sessions

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Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from retail bookstores and online retailers. Despite these robust book sales, the average American reads fewer books each year than the year before.

Each of the following, if true, could explain the simultaneous increase in book sales and decrease in the number of books Americans read EXCEPT:

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend.
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksell ers and online retailers, than at any time in the past
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2014, 08:40
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naren485 wrote:
Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from retail bookstores and online retailers. Despite these robust book sales, the average American reads fewer books each year than the year before.

Each of the following, if true, could explain the simultaneous increase in book sales and decrease in the number of books Americans read EXCEPT:

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend.
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksellers and online retailers, than at any time in the past


This is a paradox type question, basically asking you to explain two seemingly contradictory things.

Think of four segments:
(1) people that read borrowed/second hand books
(2) people that read newly purchased books
(3) people that don't read borrowed/second hand books after getting them
(4) people that don't read newly purchased books after getting them.

Combined the reading market (1+2) could go down even while the new book sales (2+4) go up if
-people that read borrowed/second hand books (1) goes down, and/or
-people that don't read borrowed/second hand books (3) goes up, and/or
-people that don't read newly purchased books (4) goes up.

A) The distinction between nonfiction books and novels has nothing to do with sales of new books and reading of books (new or used).
B) (1) went down. This could be a possible explanation.
C) (4) went up and (2) went down even though new book sales (4+2) went up.
D) New book sales (2+4) went up at the expense of second hand books (1+3). Could be a possible explanation since we don't know the magnitude of the trade off.
E) New book sales (2+4) went up at the expense of second hand books (1+3). Could be a possible explanation since we don't know the magnitude of the trade off.

Be careful of the trap: the question stem is asking for EXCEPT. Don't fall into the trap of selecting the opposite answer.
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2014, 07:04
This question is an EXCEPT question. It asks you to identify the answer that does not resolve the paradox. The paradox is that Americans buy a larger number of books each year, yet read fewer books each year. Any answer that resolves this paradox can be eliminated.

Choice B explains the paradox by showing how Americans are not taking advantage of a way to read books without buying them. If this number decreases the number of books read decreases without a decrease in the number of books purchased.
Choice C resolves the paradox by showing that Americans are now reading fewer of the books that they buy. So an increase in books sold does not necessarily mean an increase in books read.
Choice D seeks to show why more Americans would be buying more books – without necessarily reading more of them. If, in the past, each book was read more than once, whereas today each person wants their own copy, this would show an increase in books purchased without an increase in books read.
Choice E resolves by showing that it is financially possible for more people to purchase books than in the past. This answer probably resolves the paradox in the least satisfying way as compared to choices B, C, and D.

Choice A is the correct answer because it does not resolve the paradox. What if the number of nonfiction books read did increase, while the number of novels decreased? The point is that these are all books. So if we know that the overall number of books read is down, it really does not matter what the breakdown of those books, in terms of fiction and nonfiction, is.
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2016, 10:54
naren485 wrote:
Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from retail bookstores and online retailers. Despite these robust book sales, the average American reads fewer books each year than the year before.

Each of the following, if true, could explain the simultaneous increase in book sales and decrease in the number of books Americans read EXCEPT:

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend.
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksell ers and online retailers, than at any time in the past


The question stem should say either increase in book sales or decrease in number of books. Because in none of the options the two results are simultaneously happening.
Can somebody please confirm?
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Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2016, 11:05
RK84 wrote:
naren485 wrote:
Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from retail bookstores and online retailers. Despite these robust book sales, the average American reads fewer books each year than the year before.

Each of the following, if true, could explain the simultaneous increase in book sales and decrease in the number of books Americans read EXCEPT:

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased. -- IRRELEVANT to Resolve the PARADOX . hence the correct answer.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend.
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksell ers and online retailers, than at any time in the past


The question stem should say either increase in book sales or decrease in number of books. Because in none of the options the two results are simultaneously happening.
Can somebody please confirm?


All the options except A tell us why there is the simultaneous increase in book sales while keeping the fact that the reading has not increased.

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years. -> They have stopped borrowing from Public Libraries, implies that percentage is buying the books from retail stores.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.-> Telling us that now even after purchasing the books, they are now reading less as in the past.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend. -> They are purchasing the books to have them in their libraries..
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain book sellers and online retailers, than at any time in the past.-> They are purchasing the books as there is discount available on the books. But they are not reading those books.
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Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2016, 11:50
naren485 wrote:
Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from retail bookstores and online retailers. Despite these robust book sales, the average American reads fewer books each year than the year before.

Each of the following, if true, could explain the simultaneous increase in book sales and decrease in the number of books Americans read EXCEPT:

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased.
B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years.
C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent.
D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend.
E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksell ers and online retailers, than at any time in the past


Question is asking to resolve a paradox that why book sales is increasing while book reading is reducing.

IMO, many answer choices are unable to explain these two facts.

A. During this year, the number of nonfiction books that Americans read increased faster than the number of novels read decreased. This does not show why Americans read fewer books while purchases are increasing.

B. The number of books borrowed from public libraries decreased by 30% in the last ten years. But does it mean that readership is decreasing? They might be reading from the books they are purchasing.

Or how can we assume that less borrowing means fewer readership?


C. Historically, Americans have read more than two-thirds of the books they purchased, but recently that number has dropped to less than forty percent. This choice looks ok. They purchase record number of books every year and this year readership is reduced.

D. More Americans have their own personal libraries of books today than in the past and therefore choose to purchase a book rather than to borrow it from a friend. How does it mean thet readership is declined?

E. More books are available at a discount today, from bargain booksell ers and online retailers, than at any time in the past. This does not imply that people read fewer number of books.

Can someone please help.
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2017, 00:32
Hi experts,
Could you please elaborate your thoughts for each of the options?
IMO,A is the worst among all the choices;however,the rest of them are just possibly hint us why the number of books sold increase.

Did I miss anything?
Thanks
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2017, 02:23
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I don't think this is a valid CR question, in that E does not acceptably resolve the discrepancy, but let's take a look at the reasoning.

To solve a question like this, he have to ask how the situation described could sensibly occur. How can book sales be up but the average number of books read be down? The most natural answer from a quant perspective is that the population has increased. That way, the increased number of books is spread over a larger number of people. This would be a very sensible answer, but it isn't there! However, even if it had shown up, since we're dealing with an EXCEPT question, we'd want to brainstorm a few possibilities before hitting the answer choices. So what else? Maybe people are buying books but not reading them, or perhaps people used to read books without buying them, so now even with the increase in sales, reading could be down.

C covers the first of those options. People are buying more books, but reading a smaller percentage of the books that they buy. B covers the second option. People used to read books without buying them (by getting them from the library). Since this behavior has declined, it makes sense that overall reading could be down even if people are buying more books. It would be clearer if we knew how this decrease of 30% compares to the increase in sales, in terms of numbers, percentage, or both, but it does at least help us to resolve the discrepancy. D also tries to address this option by bringing up another way that people could read without buying. It's incredibly vague, so I can see why some would see this as not too useful. It doesn't give us any information about the decline in borrowing. What kind of impact has this had? However, since the initial prompt has no specific numbers, one could argue that this is no different from B, in that it shows how another source (borrowing) is declining. In both cases, we can't rely evaluate whether this explains the whole thing, but it's a start, and that's all we need.

But then there's E. This just doesn't tell us anything of value. It seems that books are available more cheaply. This might explain why more books are sold, but it doesn't explain why fewer books are read. If an answer only explains one half of the situation, then it's not addressing the discrepancy! There's no reason to assume that people are less likely to read a book that they obtained cheaply. In fact, I can give you a specific example of an official Q in which this exact reasoning is thrown out. Take a look at answer choice E here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/a-greater-nu ... 57534.html . This doesn't weaken because it's not clear that people who pay less for a newspaper are less likely to read it.

A definitely doesn't resolve the discrepancy, either, so I can see why it's the credited response. It shows a trend consistent with the data given--the overall number of books read seems to have gone down--but does nothing to help us understand why this has happened while book sales have gone up.

In the end, we're left with two answers--A and E--so the question needs to be repaired!
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Re: Each year Americans buy a record number of new books from  [#permalink]

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