Penetration of print book consumption in the U.S. 2011-2019

Data from a 2019 survey revealed that 65 percent of adults had read a printed book in the last year, down from 67 percent in the previous year. The share of adults who read print books tends to fluctuate annually, but since 2011 the majority of survey respondents have thus far always reported doing so each year.

Print book sales statistics and consumption habits

Printed books are performing well in the United States demonstrating perhaps surprising but positive growth in terms of unit sales. Print book sales in 2018 amounted to 695 million, the highest figure recorded since 2010.

Print books are still by far the most popular book format among U.S. adults, though data shows that there has been a drop in print book readership among adults who did not complete high school. Between 2018 and 2019, the share of adults in this category who had read a print book within the twelve months leading to the survey dropped by ten percent.

On a more positive note, a separate survey revealed that U.S. adults were able to list several key benefits to reading physical books. More than 80 percent of respondents said that reading print books helped them to learn about history, focus their attention, or find out about different cultures, and others found reading physical books useful for reducing their stress levels or enhancing their creativity.

Print also remains by far the most popular format for U.S. Bible readers, and when it comes to comics and graphic novels, print formats make up the vast majority of sales revenue, not just in the United States but across all of North America.

Share of adults who have read a print book in the last 12 months in the United States from 2011 to 2019

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Release date

September 2019


United States

Survey time period

2011 to 2019

Number of respondents

2019: 1,052

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

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Statistics on "Libraries in the U.S."

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