Every author needs readers. Without readers, there would be no one to buy books. Every year, the Pew Research Center studies reading rates. Recently, Pew released its newest findings. Here is what they found.
In spite of competition from a vast menu of entertainment choices, the average book readership of Americans is holding steady. In their report “Book Readership 2016”, the Pew Research Center records that 73% of Americans have read a book in the last year. This number remains largely unchanged from 2012 levels (although it is down from 2011 at 79% when Pew began tracking reading habits).
A few of the interesting findings from the survey are:
- 40% of Americans read print books exclusively.
- Only 6% read ebooks exclusively.
- Americans read an average of 12 books per year. However, the typical American has read four books in the last 12 months.
- College graduates are nearly four times as likely to read ebooks, and twice as likely to read print books and listen to audiobooks, compared with those who have not graduated high school.
- Women (77%) are more likely than men (68%) to read books in general, and are also more likely to read print books (70%).Men and women are equally likely to read ebooks and audiobooks.
One additional piece that this study looked at was why people read. Interestingly, the percentage of people reading for fiction and nonfiction reasons were about the same:
- 84% read to research specific topics.
- 80% read for pleasure.
The Pew survey was conducted from March 7 through April 4, and used a national sample of 1,520 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 states in the United States.
The fact that reading rates are not declining in the United States is good news for authors and publishers. Better news would be that reading rates are on the upswing.
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