Why You’ll Never Finish That Book

You’ll never finish that book. We’ve all been there with a whopping 46% of Americans who have not read a single book in the past year. An even lower 20% of Americans read just one to five books in the same span. 

And if you’re reading this article, chances are that you belong to the ranks of those who aspire to be voracious readers but don’t get far enough into your books before feeling defeated and moving on to the next one…if ever at all. 

This phenomenon is relatively new, too; only a few decades ago, it was completely normal for people to finish their books (especially during quarantine!). 

Now we live in a whole other world where our attention spans are shorter than ever, and we have entire libraries’ worth of books readily available at our fingertips every day. 

Some researchers have linked this decline in book finishing solely (and ironically) to an abundance of media options…others say it’s because we’re getting lazier as time goes on. 

But plenty of others simply think humans have always been this way and that the statistics from earlier years were skewed by those who felt ashamed about not finishing their latest read. 

So what’s going on? Let’s take a look at some possible causes for why you’ll never finish that book:

Why Your Book is Never Finished – It Can Grow for a Lifetime!
Understand the reasons behind not finishing books.
Identify personal obstacles that hinder reading progress.
Learn strategies to develop better reading habits.
Explore psychological factors affecting your reading behavior.
Discover techniques to stay engaged and focused while reading.
Gain insights into the impact of technology on reading habits.
Find motivation and tips to complete the books you start.
Reflect on your reading goals and priorities.
Embrace strategies to overcome common reading challenges.
Cultivate a mindful approach to your reading choices.

1. You Keep Starting A New Book

There are two types of people in this world: those who stick with one project and finish it, and those who cannot focus their energy on just one thing at a time. 

If you’re an individual who falls under the latter category, then finishing books will be tough for you because there is always something else that could be more interesting or fun to do instead.

When you start reading novellas or short stories, there’s hardly any commitment involved in finishing them because they’re shorter than long works such as novels and memoirs. 

Even if your attention span isn’t so great, reading a few pages here and there throughout the day should still put you over the hump of finishing even short fiction by bedtime!

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2. You’re Reading Too Much Nonfiction

Do you know what I love? A good story. A good story can make me feel like I’m living in another world for a few hours; it can help me forget about my problems, and make me think about something else for a while. 

This is why fiction is so important to read; it makes us feel better and smarter, which helps us become more successful people in the future (and increases our happiness).

But when you’re reading nonfiction books all day every day—especially ones that aren’t made up entirely of stories you don’t get that same sense of escapism or relief from reality as often as you do with fiction. 

Instead, you end up feeling like a big pile of facts instead of an interesting human being who has been transported into another world through literature!

3. You’re Trying To Read Long

There’s a reason that the average book length is around 100,000 words: it’s simply too long for most people to finish in one sitting, let alone one lifetime. 

The solution? Reading shorter books! They’ll take less of your time, and your brain will thank you for not wasting so much energy on a single text. 

Don’t believe me? Consider how many times you’ve abandoned books because they were too long I bet they were all longer than 50k words (except maybe Harry Potter). 

Try reading something between 30k-40k words next time instead of trying your hardest to get through that 800-page doorstopper about the life cycle of butterflies.

You could even try reading multiple short texts at once if you’re particularly ambitious there are plenty of short stories available online that have been collected into anthologies so there’s no reason why reading lots at once can’t be just as productive as reading one big thing repeatedly!

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4. Your Days Are Too Short

You have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. You have a full-time job, a family, and maybe even some hobbies or sports you enjoy. You may also be taking care of aging parents or other loved ones who need your help. 

That leaves little time for reading unless it’s in the few spare moments that you can find here and there during your day.

What if we told you that spending even just one hour per week reading could change your life? Think about it: 

If you read just one book every month and we mean to finish it then by the end of a year, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert on any number of topics relevant to your personal goals or interests (including how to write better). 

Imagine being able to discuss literature with friends over coffee without feeling like everyone would rather talk about what happened on last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones.”

You don’t need more hours in each day; instead, simply carve out an hour from what might otherwise seem like wasted time spent sitting at home watching Netflix in the evening after work

5. Your Attention Span Is Shot

Your attention span is shot. You have a lot of distractions and responsibilities, and your life is full of shiny things that demand your attention: social media, video games, television shows, and movies. 

If you’re like me (and let’s face it you are), sometimes those things are more appealing than reading an entire book.

That’s not to say that every time you try to read a book you’ll get distracted by something else. Sometimes you’ll be able to focus on reading for hours at a time without getting bored or distracted by other things going on in your life. 

But if we’re being honest here: most of us can’t remain focused enough to finish an entire book without getting sidetracked at least once or twice before reaching the end of our journey together through these pages.

I’m not saying I don’t love books; I do! But my attention span isn’t what it used to be when I was younger (and neither is yours).

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6. You Have No Role Models

By this point, you may be wondering why you’re hearing so much about “role models” in this post. The reason is that the people who do read are usually not the ones you want to emulate.

The more other people read, the less likely it is that they’ll be reading what you want to read. And if someone does read what you want them to read and gets halfway through? The chances are high that he or she will never finish your beloved book. 

Why? Because there’s no way for them to relate! They don’t share enough interests with those characters for them to care about what happens next (hint: they aren’t like those characters). 

You need someone who has both similar interests and an appetite for long stories for him or to understand why finishing would be so important.

7. You Wait Until The Last Minute To Get A Book Off The Library Shelf

The next time you’re at the library, take a look at all the books on display. How many of them are about how to make money online? 

In this day and age, there are more than enough resources available to teach you everything from how to set up WordPress sites to getting started with Facebook ads.

If you want to be successful in your business, then make sure that the skills you learn aren’t just what’s hot right now they can last for years. 

Look for something practical: an intro course or training that teaches people how not only what they need but also why they need it (e.g., why should anyone care about using Facebook ads?).

8. You Never Start Right Away If You Do Get A Book Off The Library Shelf On Time

You never start right away if you do get a book off the library shelf on time. If that’s your plan, make sure to read it immediately, or as soon as possible. 

Don’t put it off until there is time enough to enjoy it and be done with it before bedtime that won’t happen! And don’t put it off until the last minute (or even the day before), because then you will have wasted all those hours not reading.

Instead: treat yourself to an hour of reading now instead of later when there’s time for fun things like binge-watching Netflix.

Or getting caught up on Facebook statuses from high school acquaintances who post every five seconds about their babies’ latest milestones (or lack thereof).

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9. You Don’t Want To Pay For Anything

Want to avoid paying for a book so you can read it for free? You’re in luck! There are several options at your disposal:

When searching for books online, look for ones that are available for download or viewing on the web. Sometimes you’ll be able to find complete versions of what you’re looking for in these formats, which is great because it means no shipping costs and no waiting.

Libraries often have surprisingly vast collections of ebooks that they lend out digitally and most libraries have sites where they host these digital copies. Check out their catalogs to see what’s available and reserve what you want right there (no waiting required!).

Used bookstores often sell used copies of popular books at affordable rates (or even cheaper if they’re selling them at discounted prices). 

If there isn’t one near where you live, eBay can be another good source; just make sure that what you buying isn’t already damaged from being read once before!

10. Seriously, No Money

You can’t read if you don’t have money. You can’t buy books if you don’t have money. You can’t get books from the library if you don’t have money. You can’t borrow books from friends if you don’t have money.

I know this sounds super obvious, but it’s important to remember when trying to finish a book that reading costs cash (unless it’s digital). 

If your financial situation is tight, maybe consider selling some stuff on eBay or Craigslist to raise some dough for paperbacks instead of buying them with your hard-earned cash?

11. Too Much Social Media Before Bed

Your bedtime routine is probably something like this: you get in bed, turn off the lights, and start reading your book. But if you’re anything like me, that book is only one of four things happening at once.

You may have an audiobook playing in another tab, or maybe you have Google News open to catch up on current events (I won’t judge). You could also be working on homework or responding to emails or any number of other things. 

The point is that social media has become such an integral part of our lives that we can’t go five minutes without thinking about checking Twitter or Instagram (and even then we’re still scrolling mindlessly through Facebook).

As a result, many people fall asleep with their phone right beside them or within arm’s reach, and even worse still than just having the internet near your head while sleeping is spending hours scrolling through it before bedtime. 

Researchers at Stanford University found that after viewing images from social media sites.

Such as Facebook and Twitter for only ten minutes before bedtime, every day for three weeks straight resulted in decreased sleep quality and more depressive symptoms compared with those who didn’t look at their feeds just before hitting the hay.

12. Too Little Social Media Before Bed?

If you’re a social media addict, then this is probably the first time in your life that you’ve heard that something isn’t good for you. 

And yet it’s true: too much social media before bed can make it harder to get up in the morning, more difficult to fall asleep at night, and generally make things worse all around. 

The reason for this isn’t clear; what we do know is that the blue light emitted by electronic screens suppresses melatonin the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep cycles and makes us feel less sleepy than our bodies would otherwise indicate. 

If the person next to you at brunch was reading an e-book on their iPad instead of just flipping pages, they’d be getting just as much exposure as if they were looking at their phone and making themselves less likely to nap later on!

So now what? You’re probably going through withdrawal from your daily habit of checking Facebook every hour or so during work hours (guilty). 

But try not using any screen between 9 pm and 8 am: leave your phone out of reach while you go through bedtime routines (in case there are urgent messages).

And turn off all lights except those closest enough not to bother anyone else who might be sleeping next door or across town…and then see if those old habits don’t quickly come back!

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So the next time you start a book, permit yourself to stop if it’s not working for you. Or, if it is working for you but you can’t devote enough time to it, maybe put it down and come back later. 

You don’t have to read every book in the world or keep up with every new release; there will always be more books than you could ever read in your lifetime. So why not spend your reading hours on the ones that are worth your precious attention?

Further Reading

Want to overcome the habit of starting books but never finishing them? Check out this insightful article on what to do when you struggle to finish books for practical tips and advice.

Dive into the exploration of why many people never truly finish the books they start in this thought-provoking piece from The Atlantic: Why You Never Truly Finish a Book.

If you’re a writer grappling with the challenge of finishing your book, Michelle Emerson shares 3 reasons why you’ll never finish writing your book and provides insights on how to overcome these hurdles.


What causes the tendency to start books but never finish them?

The habit of not finishing books can be influenced by various factors such as lack of time, shifting interests, or difficulty in staying engaged with the content.

How can I develop better reading habits to ensure I finish the books I start?

Creating a reading routine, setting realistic goals, and choosing books that genuinely interest you are some strategies that can help you develop better reading habits.

Are there psychological reasons behind the inability to finish reading a book?

Yes, psychological factors like perfectionism, fear of missing out on other activities, and low attention span can contribute to the difficulty in finishing books.

What strategies can writers employ to ensure they complete the books they are writing?

Writers can benefit from setting clear writing goals, breaking the writing process into manageable tasks, and staying accountable through writing groups or mentors.

How does technology impact our ability to finish reading books?

The digital age has brought various distractions that can impede reading progress. Constant notifications and easy access to other forms of media can contribute to unfinished books.