On the list of nations that release the most books annually, the United States is only second to China. How much do Americans read, though? So in this article, we will talk about what Americans read the most. We’ll look at how much time Americans spend reading, their reading preferences, and what the current trends indicate about the future in this piece.
I am not an American, but I love the American reading culture! I have quite a few online friends from America, and the way they talk excitedly about books and reading, it’s so beautiful and unique. Not just reading but so many amazing authors have also evolved from America.
Adult Americans in 2020 spent a little over 20 minutes each day reading on average. This was higher than in prior years, probably due to the rise in media consumption during the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, American readers’ reading habits had changed before the pandemic and will continue to do so as media formats and devices advance.
Wait up! Don’t just stop here, as this isn’t even half of what I’m about to tell you! Continue reading further to know more!
American Reading Trends
According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who have read a book in any format, print, ebook, or audio, has decreased from 79% in 2011 to 72% in 2019.
It appears that the Covid-19 pandemic and all the time spent in lockdown impacted American reading habits, although there is still a lack of data for 2020.
According to the annual American Time Use study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans read 25% more in 2020 than they did on average in 2019.
How Many Books Do Americans Read Per Year?
The average (median) American has read four books in the last 12 months, compared to the average American reading 12 books annually. Accordingly, half have read more books than four, and the other half have read fewer. It’s important to note that listening to audiobooks was included in the definition of “reading.”
Fiction or Nonfiction: Which one is Read More?
Americans have historically favored nonfiction over fiction, with men reading novels significantly less frequently than women. Only 2 of the top 10 best-selling books on Amazon in 2020 were fiction; instead, 5 of them were nonfiction, and 3 were picture books.
Print or eBook: Which one do They Prefer More?
Now that we know how much reading is done in America, how is it done? American readers are increasingly choosing ebooks and audiobooks as alternatives to print books. Print is still the most popular format.
The term “digital” was used in Pew Research to refer to ebooks and audiobooks.
Knowing that all, in 2019:
- 37% of Americans said they only read printed books;
- 28% of readers read books in both print and digital versions;
- 7% of readers claim to only read digital content.
Which Novel Is Read the Most in America?
Since factors like sales data can only provide information about how many books are purchased, not how many are read, it is challenging to determine which novel in America is the most widely read.
But surveys can reveal a lot about American readers’ preferences. PBS encouraged the public to vote on 100 contenders for the title of America’s favorite novel as part of its “The Great American Read” series.
The victor? Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird was first made available. Mockingbird probably is one of the most read books in America in addition to being the most popular as it continues to be a mainstay in the majority of middle or high school curricula.
Books Americans Read Growing up V/S Books They are Currently Reading
When Americans were young, mystery and crime (40%), short fiction (39%), and history (39%) were the most read genres. Fantasy (36%), science fiction (36%), and young adult fiction (30%) are close behind.
Religion and spirituality, crafts, hobbies, the house, and graphic novels (14%) are the least preferred categories of books among those surveyed. 12% of Americans who read at least one book genre reported that they read more young adult books during their childhood than any other genre. Next, 10% of Americans said they enjoyed the mystery, crime, and science fiction.
The most popular book categories during childhood revealed gender differences: 17% of women who had read at least one genre of books as children stated they had read Young Adult books the most, compared to 6% of males who had read at least one genre during childhood.
In contrast, science fiction is the genre that men read the most while they are young (17% of male childhood readers of at least one book genre, as opposed to 4% for females).
They still enjoy reading some of the same genres as children: 28% of those who read at least one book genre say they read mysteries and crime, and 27% say they read history books. Most Americans who read books report reading mystery and crime books the most (14%), while most of those who read books as children say reading mystery and crime books the most when they were younger. But there are also noticeable differences between reading preferences as a youngster and an adult.
Religion and spirituality are among the more popular book genres today while being one of the least popular book genres among American children. 20% of current book readers say they read this genre, and 13% say they read it more frequently than any other.
There are some gender discrepancies in current book genre preferences. Compared to 10% of men, 18% of female book readers identify mystery and crime as their favorite genres. Men (14% of readers) read more history than women (7%), with history being the most popular genre.
However, religion and spirituality books are the second-most read genre for both men and women, according to equal numbers of men and women who read different book genres (13% of each).
Which book categories did Americans read more of as children relative to now?
Only 28% of people who currently read book genres claim they presently read mystery and crime, compared to 40% of Americans who read book genres when they were young. However, a sizable portion of current mystery and crime fiction readers claim to read these genres more frequently now than any other (14%) than they did when they were younger (just 10%).
While the percentage of Americans who currently read books in this genre say they read books about religion and spirituality (20%) is similar to the rate of childhood book readers. Who said they had read that genre when they were children (19%), more Americans who presently read books in this genre (13%) say they read this genre more than they did when they were children (4%).
How Much Time a Day Do Americans Spend Reading?
Americans read for 20.4 minutes each day on average between 2018 and 2020.
Of the study’s groups:
- The majority of adults over 65 who read are those over 75, who read on average about an hour every day.
- Comparatively, adolescents and young adults (15–19) read the least, spending only 8.4 minutes each day on average.
Conclusion| What Americans Read the Most
Over the decades that polling firms have asked questions about Americans’ reading habits, particularly regarding books, reading tendencies have changed. By questioning respondents about their reading motivations, examining emerging technology forms, and paying close attention to the significance of libraries and librarians in readers’ reading lives, a study added several fresh angles to this investigation.
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