Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gallup: 'Most Americans Are Still Reading Books'

Shelf Awareness

"During the past year, about how many books did you read/listen to, either all or part of the way through?"

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans "are consuming books at nearly the same rate that they were when Gallup last asked this question in 2002--before smartphones, Facebook or Twitter became ubiquitous. More than one in three (35%) appear to be heavy readers, reading 11 or more books in the past year, while close to half (48%) read between one and 10 and just 16% read none."
Although the number of respondents who said they read no books in the past year was double the first time Gallup asked this question in 1978 (from 8% then to 16% now), the figure has been fairly steady near the current level since 1990.

The results are based "on an open-ended question that asked half of Americans to recall the number of books they read all or part of the way through in the past year--the trend wording--and the other half to recall the number of books they read or listened to all or part of the way through. Given that there was no meaningful difference in the answers, the results to the two versions were combined," Gallup reported.

In other notable findings, 91% of adults aged 18-29 read at least one book in the past year, compared to 85% of adults aged 65 and older. Nearly 40% in both age groups read more than 10 books. Baby boomers are having an impact on the 65 and older category, where the percentage who reported reading one or more books increased from 68% (in 2002) to 85%. Among respondents who read at least one book last year, 73% said they most often read printed books, 19% electronic books and 6% audiobooks.

Gallup concluded that "despite Americans' ability to access more information, social networks, games and media than ever before, as well as the lingering rumors of the book's demise, Americans still say they are reading books.... This suggests that book reading is a classic tradition that has remained a constant in a faster-paced world, especially in comparison to the slump of other printed media such as newspapers and magazines."

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