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Time spent reading books in the U.S. from 2002 to 2012

The statistic above presents data on the average time Americans spend reading books per year. On average every American spent 109 hours reading books in 2005.

The printed book industry - additional information

Americans may be reading more than 100 hours per year, but this does not necessarily mean that Americans are big book buyers. In 2014, the results of an online survey revealed that 25 percent of Americans claimed to have not purchased a book in 2014 and 16 percent having bought just one or two books. Additionally, females were more likely to have purchased 21 or more books in 2014, with an 11 percent share compared to an 8 percent share of males. Alternatively, when book purchases were measured according to age groups in the United States in 2014, 21 percent of Millennials (between the ages of 18 and 36) reported buying three to five books.
But what are the most popular categories in the printed book industry in the United States? In 2013, higher education material books came second with an annual sales revenue of 4.3 billion U.S. dollars but was beaten to the top spot be adult books which generated the most revenue with 4.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Physical hard copy books remain the most common format for book consumption in the United States. Forty-six percent of those surveyed in the United States claimed to only read hard copy books in 2013. Alternative book formats include tablets and e-readers ownership has risen in recent years, which has encouraged increased reading levels in the recent past.

Estimated time spent* reading books in the U.S. from 2002 to 2012

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Release date

December 2010


United States

Survey time period

2002 to 2008

Age group

18 years and older

Supplementary notes

* Estimates for time spent were derived using consumer purchase data.
** Forecast.

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