It’s always a good idea for us, as creatives and writers, to stay current about trends in reading and the publishing industry. With this in mind, here’s the latest on key findings on our field from the latest Pew Research Center:
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.
On average, Americans read 12 books per year, while in the past year, the typical (median) American read four books. These figures have stayed relatively unchanged since 2011, when Pew first began researching Americans’ book reading habits.
Print books continue to be the most popular format for reading; according to the latest research, 67% of Americans have read a print book in the past year.
Roughly four in ten Americans (39%) say they read only print books, while roughly one in three (29%) use diverse formats and read both print and audio books.
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 notable surge in the share of Americans who read audiobooks: Audio readership has increased from 14% to 18%.
Despite growth in some digital formats, relatively few Americans read digital books (either audiobooks or e-books) to the exclusion of print.
Just 7% of Americans say they only read books in digital formats and have not read any print books in the past 12 months.
Nearly one-quarter (23%) of 18- to 29-year-olds have listened to an audiobook in the past 12 months, compared with 16% who had done so in 2016.
A few related findings on U.S. consumption of online information:
Overall, 77% of Americans go online on a daily basis. This figure includes 26% who stay virtually connected throughout the day, as well as 43% who say they go online several times a day and 8% who go online about once a day.
As smartphones and other mobile gain popularity, 26% of American adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21% in 2015, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey research.
Younger adults are at the vanguard of the constantly connected: Roughly four-in-ten 18- to 29-year-olds (39%) go online almost constantly and 49% go online multiple times per day. By comparison, just 8% of those 65 and older go online almost constantly and just 30% go online multiple times per day. Americans ages 30 to 49 are now about as likely as younger adults to use the internet almost constantly (36% versus 39%) – up 12%.
Now that we know more about our readers, let’s all write on!