Who reads books in America, and how?

The Pew Internet and American Life project has released a new report on reading, called E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps. It surveys American book-reading habits, looking at both print books and electronic books, as well as audiobooks. They report that ebook readership is increasing, and also produced a "snapshot" (above) showing readership breakdown by gender, race, and age. They show strong reading affinity among visible minorities and women, and a strong correlation between high incomes and readership. The most interesting number for me is that 76 percent of Americans read at least one book last year, which is much higher than I'd have guessed.

E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps (via Jim Hines)

Notable Replies

  1. Yeah, that is in fact a lot better than I would have guessed, too.

  2. If you consider that reading part of the Bible would qualify these numbers make a lot more sense.

  3. Lion says:

    Audiobooks are widely read by the elderly as they are hard of sight. My grandmother has gone through about thirty or forty last year, and probably won't be with us much longer, but is on pace to do more this year.

    She can't really see the TV or read books anymore. Audiobooks and audio news are pretty much how she gets her news and entertainment.

  4. The stat you mentioned didn't really surprise me, but then I work for an ebook subscription service (Scribd) and talk to lifetime readers every day. Also, there's likely a self-reporting bias. I know a thing or two about "aspirational" reading. Many people say they read the classics but, when it comes down it, can't put down an engaging romance novel. There's nothing wrong with that! Whatever makes you feel good and keeps you engaged. smile

  5. Why is everyone so horrified that so many people read a book last year? Is it too damaging to your sense of elitism to discover that you aren't the few, the arrogant, the literate?

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