24 Fascinating Book Reading Statistics

Reading is one of the most popular pastimes in Canada, with over 80% of adults admitting to reading for pleasure. But how do we stack up against other countries when it comes to book reading? Which age groups read the most and which – the least? How well do we understand the read passages? Here are some fascinating book reading statistics about Canadian and global reading habits.

Top 10 Reading Statistics – Editor’s Choice

  • People in India read an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes a week – more than any other nation in the world.
  • Successful people tend to read more. Allegedly, Bill Gates reads around 50 books per year.
  • The average reading penetration in Canada was at 81% in 2018.
  • According to stats and facts on reading, the average Canadian adult spends approximately six hours per week reading a book.
  • In Canada, 50% of kids aged 6-17 read books for fun from one to four days a week.
  • In 2017, about 35% of Canadians were book club members.
  • Only 58 out of 100 Canadian adults between the ages of 16 and 65 have the basic reading skill they need to perform their everyday tasks.
  • 91% of Canadian readers follow book trends on social media.

Global Book Reading Statistics

Which country reads the most? How much do people read on average? How do people read? How many books do they read in a month/year/lifetime? Let’s see how things look on a global scale.

1. People in India read an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes a week – more than any other nation in the world.

(Mal Warwick’s Blog on Books)

India is followed by Thailand, with an average of 9 hours and 24 minutes, while China takes third place, with its people spending 8 hours a week reading.

2. In the UK, one in five Brits reads books on screens or e-readers.

(Cartridge People)

UK book reading statistics for 2021 also tell us that 11% of 18-to-34 year-olds in the UK read more than 14 hours a week, while the same holds true for just 7% of readers over 65.

3. In France, print was king in 2021, with 83% of the respondents preferring this format.

(Statista)

On the other hand, the penetration of the digital format was much lower, with just 23% of respondents reading e-books.

4. Following the first lockdown of 2019, in the US, 40% of Millennials were more likely to read a book than before the coronavirus outbreak.

(Statista)

Gen Z respondents were the second most likely group to grab a book to keep themselves occupied (34%), followed by Gen Xers (31%).  Lastly, these stats about reading also found that Baby Boomers were least likely to reach for a book, with only 28% of them stating they’d likely read to help speed up time.

5. Successful people tend to read more. Allegedly, Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year.

(Inc.com)

According to Pew Research Center data, everything above 17 per year is considered above average, so Gates is pretty much off the charts.

Canadian Book Reading Statistics

After reading about a few key facts and stats about global trends, let us see the reading rates in Canada. How does the Canadian readership hold up to global standards? Do we have unique traits? Are we embracing e-books and audiobooks, or do we stick to good old paper? Let’s find out.

6. Print was the most popular format in the country in 2018.

(Statista)

Publisher sales managed to generate $828.8 million from print books and an additional $135.1 million from online sales of print books. As far as e-books go, this format was still significantly less popular – it only managed to generate $95.1 million in the same year, although the sales increased from 2016 by 69%.

7. Eighty percent of Canadians read at least one book in 2020.

(Ontario Creates)

Book reading statistics for Canada indicate that reading is a popular pastime: 53% of Canadians read at least once a week, and 33% read daily.

8. At 41.2%, young adult fiction was the most popular genre in Canada in 2020.

(Ontario Creates)

The second most widely read genre was non-fiction books with 33.2%, while adult fiction accounted for 24.1% of books sold in 2020 in Canadian bookstores and online.

9. The Canadian book industry generated $680 million in 2020.

(Ontario Creates)

The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 0.31% by 2025. According to predictions from PwC, e-books are likely to grow faster than print and audiobooks.

Judging by these numbers, books might also play a considerable role in the latest gift industry statistics.

10. Canadian adults spend about six hours per week reading a book.

(Newswire)

A 2019 Ipsos survey also found that nearly 34% of the respondents read two or more books at the same time.

11. Approximately 58% of Canadian readers say they get motivated when they discover a new author.

(Newswire)

Another 39% mentioned that visiting libraries and bookstores are their main reading motivators. Apart from these statistics on reading, the surveyed Canadians also mentioned they’d spend even more time reading if their busy schedules didn’t prevent them.

12. 54% of readers in Canada pick up the book that “catches their eye.”

(Newswire)

When asked how they’d choose the title they’ll read next, 38% of respondents said they would rely mostly on friend and family recommendations. Two-thirds of Canadian readers also gladly give book recommendations.

13. In Canada, 50% of kids aged 6 to 17 read books for fun from one to four days a week.

(Scholastic)

When assessing children reading statistics in Canada, we can say that the figures look quite promising. Apart from the statistics mentioned above, 34% of children from the same age group read for fun five to seven days a week, while 16% read books for fun less than once a week.

14. According to 78% of Canadian parents, key benefits their kids reap from reading include expanding their vocabulary and improving their language skills.

(Scholastic)

Seventy-one percent of parents also mentioned the development of their kids’ imagination as an important benefit. In 64% of instances, parents noted reading could help their kids perform better in school and curb their usage of technology.

15. In 2017, 35% of Canadians were book club members.

(Book Net Canada)

Forty-six percent of Canadian readers also checked out at least one book from the library in 2017.

16. When it comes to digital book consumption, most Canadians (38%) use their tablets to read e-books.

(Book Net Canada)

The statistics about reading e-books also show that 20% of readers read on their desktops. Another 20% pointed out that they prefer reading on their smartphones.

17. 53 million books were sold in Canada in 2020. 

(Statista)

The figure represents a 2.9% decrease from 2019.

18. 91% of Canadian readers follow book trends in social media.

(Book Net Canada)

Reading-related online activities, too, are part of online reading statistics. For example, 55% of 750 respondents who took part in Book Net’s 2017 survey said they participated in online book clubs and social media book discussion groups. Also, 50% of them said they also discuss the books they’ve read online. In about 30% of instances, they discover new topics online, on social media platforms, or in discussion groups.

19. Only 58 out of 100 Canadian adults aged between 16 and 65 have the required level of literacy to cope with everyday reading tasks.

(Police ABC)

Literacy and book reading statistics in Canada also show that the average score in prose and document literacy for most Canadian adults is close to the bottom end of Level 3, which is the minimum level of literacy required for effective everyday communication. 

Global Audiobook and E-Book Reading Trends

Digital formats are becoming increasingly popular, with people of all ages turning to them for entertainment and information. In this section, we take a look at some global trends and statistics surrounding audiobook and e-book consumption. 

20. The US and China held nearly 75% of the entire audiobook market in 2020.

(Deloitte, Research and Markets)

The global audiobook market was worth US$2.67 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$13.45 by 2027, according to a report by Research and Markets.

21. Only 8% of people older than 65 listened to audiobooks in the US.

(Statista)

According to early 2019 data, audiobooks were the most popular with people from higher-income families aged between 30 and 49. Reading demographics (in this case, listening) also show that audiobook consumption seems to be slightly higher among women than men.

22. In 2020, 191 million e-books were sold in the US.

(Statista)

According to Statista’s e-book consumption and reading statistics for 2020, the US is the largest market for digital books. E-book sales generated approximately US$1,100 million in revenue both in 2020 and 2021.

23. The global e-book market is forecasted to grow in the 2018-2026 period at a CAGR of 3.62%.

(Mordor Intelligence)

According to these professional estimates, North America is the largest market, while the Asia Pacific region is the fastest-growing market.

24. 62% of e-book purchases are made by people aged between 18 and 45.

(About Ebooks)

People aged between 18 and 24 are the most avid e-book readers, statistics inform us. Twenty-six percent of all e-book purchases are made by them, while the 25-34 age group takes second place, with 19%. Third place goes to readers between the ages of 35 and 44, with 16% of total purchases. Finally, people over 65 account for just 11% of total purchases.

Conclusion

As you can see from these statistics on reading, the publishing industry and books as a medium have been fighting an ongoing battle with the “new mediums,” which grant a different, oftentimes more immersive experience.

However, judging by the latest book industry statistics, books currently seem to hold their own. We’ve seen that consumer trends are shifting toward digital formats, as the demand for e-books and audiobooks is steadily growing. Even though they may take on different forms, books will continue to be a valuable and important part of our culture. 

FAQ

How many books does the average person read in a year?

According to the Pew Research Center data, the average person reads one book every month, totalling out to 12 books per year. However, the most-reported number in the survey was four books per year. 

How many books could you read yearly if you read 30 minutes each day?

Lenstore came up with a solid method to estimate how many books people could read in a year. By giving the same test to 1,600 people, this contact lens retailer company found that on average, participants spend 101 seconds completing the passage. With that speed, if you read for 30 minutes every day, you could read 33 books a year – assuming that the books are about 90,000 words long on average.

What age group reads the most?

Some studies suggest that Millennials are the most dedicated readers, with 80% of them having read at least one book in the last 12 months.

What is the most sold book in 2022?

According to NPD, the most sold book in the US, as of January 2022, is “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. The title, published by the Penguin Group US, sold more than three million copies.

How many minutes a day should you read to your child?

According to experts, when kids are in kindergarten, spending about 20 minutes a day reading aloud to your child is enough. In first grade, that can be stretched to half an hour per session.

After your kids start reading on their own, some professionals recommend having them spend at least 20 minutes a day reading out loud to you.

All in all, experts agree you shouldn’t force the child to read to improve their book-reading habits because this is likely to be counter-productive. If kids are forced to read, they might start harbouring negative feelings toward reading, which in the long run, could lead to even more unpleasant consequences.

Sources:

With over a decade of experience in writing and two decades in making music, Szabolcs is all ears when it comes to creating written and audio content. As an active touring/recording musician and creative writer, he focuses on exploring new places, experiences, and topics. He also rediscovered his long lost love for gaming, which only fueled his appetite to research new tech trends. Lastly, his enthusiasm toward powerlifting also means that he's trying to be well-versed in other topics too, such as lifestyle, fitness, resistance training, bodybuilding, and strength sports.

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