Preferred book formats in the U.S. 2020

According to a survey held in the United States between March and April 2020, 70 percent of respondents said that they read print books the most, with 39 percent of those consumers preferring their books to be new.

The study was conducted as the U.S. went into lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, however although the virus certainly affected media consumption in the United States, what did not change was consumers' book preferences. Print has always been the most popular book format in the U.S. and figures on increased media consumption during the pandemic showed that even Gen Z, a generation famed for loving digital, were the most likely to be reading books more than usual during the outbreak.

Book consumption in the U.S.

Whilst printed newspapers and magazines have struggled to survive as digital formats grow ever more prevalent and appealing, when it comes to books U.S. consumers still have a clear preference for print. Annual survey data consistently shows that U.S. adults are far more likely to have read a print book in the last year than a digital version thereof, and whilst the popularity of digital books has increased, print remains the favorite.

As far as book buying goes, whilst the number of print books sold in the U.S. fluctuates each year, the figures remain relatively stable. Although unit sales have not surpassed 700 million since 2010, the number came close in 2018 and yearly sales from 2015 to 2019 were higher than the amount recorded in 2004.

Preferred book formats among adults in the United States as of April 2020

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Release date

April 2020


United States

Survey time period

March 28 to April 27, 2020

Number of respondents

14,776 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Supplementary notes

Question: What format do you use most to read books?

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Statistics on "Book formats in the U.S."

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