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Monday, March 13, 2017


The typical U.S. adult has read five books in the past 12 months. Which is actually really good! We may think we're a nation enraptured with TV shows, electronic games and cell phone apps -- not to mention all those kitten videos on You Tube -- but we also are reading more than ever. The Pew Research Center reports that five books a year is the median, not the average, which means that half of Americans read more than five books and half read less than five books. When the average number of books is computed, it's even higher at 12 books for all adults and 16 books for adult readers. Why so high? A relatively small number of avid readers skews the average far higher; that's why Pew reports the median. But here's the gotcha: If you envision all those readers curled up with a book made of paper, you would be wrong. "Reading," according to Pew, encompasses not only printed books, but also e-books and audiobooks. Yes, listening to a book on a CD while you drive to work counts as "reading."

More facts according to the Pew Research Center:

  • 69 percent of U.S. adults read at least one printed book in the past year, compared with 28 percent who read an e-book and 14 percent who listened to an audiobook. 
  • 87 percent of e-book readers and 84 percent of audiobook listeners also read a print book in the past 12 months. 
  • Women are more likely than men to have read a book in the previous year. 
  • Readership increases with more income and education. 
  • There were no significant differences by age group for overall reading rates. 
  • Among young adults (ages 18 to 29) 47 percent said they'd read at least one e-book, versus 35 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and just 17 percent of people ages 65 and over.

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