Monday, December 17, 2012

How Many Books People Read Per Annum.

How Many Books Do People Read Per Year?

While reading some 2012 research about the rise of e-reading I came across the following statistics: 78% of Americans aged over 16 years had read a book in the past year. Of those 78% they read on average 17 books (mean) or 8 books (median) in the previous year. Now if my maths is right that means that if the 22 per cent who didn’t read books is added back in, than on average Americans over 16 read 13.2 books (mean) and who knows what the median average might be. (Note: I changed this bit of the post because my maths was wrong.)

Last year, I read only 13 books. So I only reached the mean average of books. As a writer I reckon I should be reading a lot more than the average person reads in a year. (Note: I had a look for Aussie statistics but could not find any – if only I was looking for stats on something important like sport or beer drinking).

I immediately thought up excuses for not reading much more than the average person. Excuses like, I spend a lot of my reading time on newspapers. I write all day (well occasionally) and I am therefore too-tired to read at night (I only read books at night). I was frequently too tired to read because of illness. I read really big books (well I do, one I am reading at the moment is 1450 pages).

Ebook Readers Read More.

The survey then divided those 78% of Americans into those who have read an ebook in the past year and those who hadn’t. A person who had read an ebook in the past year read on average 24 books (mean) or 13 (median). A person who had not read an ebook read 15 (mean) or 6 (median).

So does that mean that ebooks have lead to a lot more books being read? Not necessarily. The article says that people who read ebooks are naturally bigger readers of books anyway.

I read ebooks, so last year I just made the median average, and was well under the mean.

I Need to Read More.

This year I have read 16 books (some of them have been really big too), so I am getting closer to the ebook reader mean average. 

Please feel free to embarrass me by leaving a comment with details of the huge number of books you read per year.


Anthony J. Langford said...

Sounds about right to me. If we read too much, we don't get any writing done.
I've got a young family too which takes up alot of my time, plus work. I'd be lucky to read 10.

Graham Clements said...

Gillian Pollock, who I think judges the Aurealis awards, said on my twitter feed that she reads 300 books a year.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Are you serious? Then she can't have much of a life. I assume she doesn't work. I'd say she's probably talking shit.

Graham Clements said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Graham Clements said...

And before Gillian is insulted, her surname is Polack.

I am pretty sure she teaches at a Canberra University. And she writes fantasy with a couple of novels published.

Makes you wonder what she does in her spare time doesn't it.