Pew: One in Four American Adults Did Not Read a Book in the Past Year

The Pew Research Center has published the results of its latest bi-annual survey into American reading habits.  A survey conducted in early January 2018 showed that the number of Americans reading books has essentially remained unchanged since 2012:

About three-quarters (74%) of Americans have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2012, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in January. Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 67% of Americans having read a print book in the past year.

And while shares of print and e-book readers are similar to those from a survey conducted in 2016, there has been a modest but statistically significant increase in the share of Americans who read audiobooks, from 14% to 18%.

The report from Pew says that “Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months”.

I think it better to exclude the non-readers and non-answers, and focus instead on those who read. This raises the median to well over 7 books a year. (I am uncertain how to calculate the mean from the provided data, however.)

Nate Hoffelder

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Nate Hoffelder is the founder 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. Paul C9 March, 2019

    I confess. I have been reading fewer books.

    Time pressures are the biggest reason I read fewer books. I do read more magazine articles than ever. It’s easy to read and then get on with other tasks. Most are rather technical but fascinating.

    No, television hasn’t got anything to do with it. I do not watch much television.

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