Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Reading Habits of Americans

Zogby International has come out with the results of an extensive survey on how and where readers shop, what makes them buy, and their reading and book-buying habits.

It’s long and packed with stats, but here are some highlights.
… the vast majority of readers still like to read the old-fashioned way - 82% said they prefer to curl up with a printed book over using the latest in reading technology …

Women (85%) are more likely than men (79%) to say they prefer reading printed books.

Men (13%) are more open than women (8%) to reading books in other formats, as are 13% of those younger than age 30, compared to just 6% of those age 65 and older.

For nearly half (48%), the first thing that draws them to a book while browsing in a bookstore is the subject, followed by the author (24%) and the book's title (11%).

When asked what makes them want to buy a book, 60% said suggestions from friends and family members, while nearly half (49%) said they are influenced by book reviews.

More than half (52%) admit to judging a book by its cover, with younger respondents more likely to acknowledge a book's cover influences their opinion - 66% of those younger than 30 said they judge a book by its cover, compared to just 34% of those age 65 and older.

Most said they typically read just one book at a time, but a sizable 40% said they usually are reading between two and four books at once. Another 3% said they generally read more than four books at one time.

On average, 39% of respondents said they purchase between one and five books per year for themselves, while 26% buy between six and 10, 14% between 11 and 15 - 22% buy 16 or more books per year for themselves.

While most purchase books online (77%) or at chain bookstores (76%), nearly half (49%) said they also purchase books at independent bookstores.

You can read the full report or a summation of it. Either way, it’s interesting reading.


  1. Interesting stats, Helen. I'm especially intrigued by the number of people who read several books at one time compared to the number of books people buy a year. Some of the people who read 4 books at a time must be reading all the books they buy in a year at the same time all year long.

  2. I read one, maybe two, at a time. But I used to read 4 or more at a time, technically speaking. Some of those people may be like I used to be. Although I was technically reading multiple books, I actually was primarily reading one. For example, I'd have one in my purse or car that I only read when I was stuck waiting somewhere -- that one could take me months or more to actually finish.


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