Do Americans Still Read for Pleasure?

Americans still read for pleasure, with about 75% of adults claiming to have read at least one book during the previous year, according to a 2013 survey. The number of Americans who have not read a book in the past year is estimated to have tripled since 1978, however. For people who do read for pleasure, the format has changed, as about 40% of American adults surveyed said they had read books electronically. Another 2013 survey found that adults age 18-39 who owned e-readers or tablets had read an average of 21 books in the previous year, compared with 13 for people who did not own such a device.

More about reading habits:

  • A little more than half of all Americans older than 16 visit a library during a year.
  • India is the country where people read the most, at an average of more than 10 hours per week.
  • More than 80% of Americans age 50-64 say they read for pleasure, which is the highest rate of any age group.

Discussion Comments


I love reading, and it's quite sad that it's not as popular as it used to be. It helps you to gain more knowledge, it expands your brain, and you get to discover all the different genres. Maybe people just don't have the time anymore, especially with school and work. Then again, those things existed in the past, so that's not really an excuse. Besides, any goal we want to accomplish, we'll make time for.


@Hazali - I agree with you on that. Also, in my opinion, the lack of reading is due to people having a short(er) attention span. As an example, I will being comparing books to films. Since movies generally have to be wrapped up in ninety minutes to two hours, there's less time for a build up, and we're automatically thrown into the action. These sequences are generally what the movie going audience prefers.

However, compare that to books. With some as long as five hundred pages, there's plenty of time to build up to the intense parts. However, in this day and age, we (myself included) just don't have the patience to read through so many chapters.


In all honesty, it's not hard to see why books aren't read that much anymore. In this day and age, it's all about technology, which has consumed our culture. Nowadays, when people are bored, they prefer to surf the internet, or watch a TV show. However, in the past, those options were less available, and as the article says, reading was a lot more common.

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