Infographic: What Makes You Put Down a Book?

goodreads psychology of abandonment Goodreads released a new infographic yesterday that answers the age old question that hounds authors everywhere: Why didn’t readers finish my book?

Everyone who has ever read more than one book has abandoned a book before finishing it, for one reason or another. And in this day and age, many readers go to Goodreads to explain why they gave up on a book.

Goodreads has combed through the reviews, posts, and comments left by readers and pulled out some useful details, including the top 5 most abandoned books, the top 5 most abandoned classics, and other details including the leading reasons why a book was abandoned and how far readers got before giving up.

I was surprised to learn that I had abandoned 2 of titles on the Top 5 Abandoned Classics List; the only which I have tried and finished was Atlas Shrugged. (Funny, I thought that was an easy read.)

goodreads psychology of abandonment


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. cookie10 July, 2013

    I abandoned this year:

    1. The Stand by Stephen King.
    2. Mildred Pierce by James m. Cain
    3. The High Window by Raymond Chandler.

    I gave up on The Stand because at the 40 % he introduces a new character and devoted a chapter to her (old black womoan on porch), and I ran out of patience.

    Mildred PIerece I dropped at 50% mark out of boredom with the story.

    The High Window I dropped because he spent too much time describing things

  2. Michelle Louring10 July, 2013

    I fought my way to page 115 in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, because everyone kept telling me you had to get past the first 100 pages before it got good. When it still was dull at 115, I finally gave up.
    I also recently gave up after the first 3 chapters of a fantasy book that was truly terribly written(and it wasn’t even self-published), but usually I stick with books, good or bad, until the end.

  3. The Rodent10 July, 2013

    I rarely abandon a book after the first 30 pages; if I get that far, it’s usually worth reading… However, in college I think I was the only person I know who managed to read the entire John Galt speech near the end of Atlas Shrugged — the proverbial “part that readers tend to skip”. LOL.

    1. Nate Hoffelder10 July, 2013

      LOL I skipped the speech.

  4. Thomas10 July, 2013

    I usually don’t intentionally abandon a book. I’ll be in the middle of one when something I want to read more comes along, then I forget about the first one. By the time I remember what I was reading, there’s usually something else new to get to. A lot of books fall through the cracks that way.

  5. Johnny Pearseed11 July, 2013

    I gave up on Game of Thrones on page 2. The reason was weak writing:

    “A cold wind was blowing out of the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

    F’cking similes, how do they work?

  6. Amy Chamberlain11 July, 2013

    Awesome post. I’ve always been very curious about those reasons.

    I want to add a little bit about my own abandoned books!
    1.) Twilight (Now, don’t /facepalm yet, I’m not a fan. I just wanted to see if there’s a reason for people to go all crazy about it. I then got 1 chapter in with great effort to stay awake, and by halfway to chapter 2, I had to desert. This has never before happened to me; as far as I can remember. I was just so put-off by Meyer’s horrendous writing. It’s as though a 5 year old wrote that stuff. Yeah and the plot… well… ZzzzZzz)
    2.) And then there was another book I just can’t remember its name; where a King dies, his daughter becomes queen, and then they’re attacked from the kingdoms around them, because she refuses to marry (Although she HAS TO by law). So she’d rather let the people she is responsible for die, than sacrifice something and marry? That doesn’t seem right to me. She’s an egoistical b****, and I just couldn’t read that book.
    3.) Lord of the Rings
    I’ve been wanting to read this, but it starts just soooo incredibly slow… Sigh

  7. […] Infographic on why readers abandon books. […]

  8. […] The Digital Reader: Infographic: What Makes You Put Down a Book? […]


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