54+ US Book Reading Statistics for 2024 (Number Of Readers)

US Book Reading Statistics - MyClassTracks

Reading Books offers one of the most beneficial experiences for the mind and soul and has turned out to be the most helpful escape from stress. 

In spite of being aware of all the benefits of reading, there is still a decline demonstrated in the book-reading population over the past few decades.

According to recent book reading statistics, it is seen that the industry is rebounding, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic when a maximum number of people reconstituted the habit of reading. 

To know some important, interesting, and fascinating facts and statistics regarding book reading statistics in the United States, Scroll down through the below article. 

Key Findings: U.S. Book Reading Statistics

  1. The average daily time spent on reading by individuals in the United States for the year 2021 was demonstrated to be 0.28 hours, i.e. 16.8 minutes (Statista).
  2. The average time spent reading on weekends was determined to be 0.31 hours (18.6 minutes), and for the weekdays, it was found to be 0.26 hours (15.6 minutes) for the year 2021 (Statista).
  3. Reading 30 minutes a day may help prolong your life span by two years ( World Economic Forum).
  4. According to the national survey, Women are more likely to have read books for the past 12 months than men. 
  5. It is seen that due to COVID-19, the number of readers in the world increased by 35%.
  6. 43 million adults in America have low reading abilities.
  7. As per the research conducted by Zippia, 64.3% of the readers are women, while 35.7% are men
  8. 825.8 million units of books were sold in the year 2021, with an increase of 8.9% from 2020. 
  9. 29.30% of people preferred to read poetry books in print format only. 
  10. In a year, 75% of US citizens read at least a book.
  11. According to Cross River Therapy, Below are some of the interesting average book reading statistics. 
Average Reading SpeedAround 250 to 300 words per minute. 
Average Reading Comprehension50 to 70%
Average number of words read in one sitting.1000 to 2000 words.
Average time spent reading one page.2 Minutes. 
Minimum number of words read in one sitting. 500-words.
Maximum number of words read in one sitting. 4000 words
Average time to read one book.10 to 15 hours. 
  1. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, one in three teenagers has not read a book in a year for pleasure. 
  2. It is seen that more than 30% of Americans read e-books than books. 
  3. Bill Gates reads more than 50 books each year.
  4. It is seen that only six minutes of reading per day is an essential factor in the development of young children.
  5. There are 28.76% of people in the US started a book but never finished.

Let’s have a look at the number of books finished in the past 12 months. 

Never Read22.82%
Started but never finished 28.76%
1 book1.55%
2-3  books11.88%
4-5 books 9.34%
6-10 books10.33%
11-20 books7.99%

Average Time Spent Reading Per Capita In The US

As per the research, in the year 2021, adults in the United States spent more time reading on the weekends rather than on weekdays. 

To know the average time adults spend reading in the United States, check the data provided below. 

YearTime Spent Reading On Weekdays.Time Spent Reading On Weekends And Holidays
20140.31 hours 0.35 hours
20150.32 hours0.35 hours
20160.27 hours0.33 hours
20170.27 hours0.29 hours
20180.25 hours0.29 hours
20190.28 hours0.28 hours
20200.34 hours0.35 hours
20210.26 hours0.31 hours

Source: Statista

Who Doesn’t Read at all in America?

According to a study from Pew Research, 25% of Americans have not read at all for a year. 

  1. Among these, 39% of the people are from lower levels of education. 
  2. Only 11% of these people had higher education.
  3. It is seen that people with an income of $30,000 or less are more likely not to read.

Let’s have a look at how many people have not read at all in the US.

Category Percent of people 
US adults23%
Black 25%
Ages 18-4919%
Less than $30K31%
$30K – $74,99924%
$75K or more15%
High school or less39%
Some college17%

Book Reading Statistics As Per Age Groups

As per Statista, the table below shows the time spent on reading by individuals of different age groups for the year 2021. 

Book Reading Statistics As Per Age Groups
Age GroupsAverage Time Spent On Reading. 
15 to 19 years0.16 hours
20 to 24 years0.15 hours
25 to 34 years0.13 hours 
35 to 44 years 0.15 hours
45 to 54 years0.26 hours
55 to 64 years0.29 hours
65 to 74 years0.49 hours
75 years and above.0.69 hours

Source: Statista.

  1. The study shows individuals 75 years and above are the most avid readers and spend around 40 minutes reading daily

To get more insight about the Book reading statistics based on the age of the individuals, go through the data provided below.

The table below showcases the share of individuals who have read the Book in the past 12 months in the U.S. for 2019 and 2021. 

Age GroupsPercentage Of Readers (For The Year 2019)Percentage Of Readers (For The Year 2021)
18 to 29 years81%83%
30 to 49 years72%77%
50 to 64 years67%72%
65 years and above.68%68%

Source: Statista. 

Reading Statistics According To Gender

Several statistical pieces of evidence prove that women read more books than men. They spend their self-reported time reading as compared to men.

Here is the data presenting the percentage of men and women readers from the year 2010 to 2019. 

YearWomen Readers(In Percentage) Men Readers(In Percentage)

Source: Zippia

  1.  For the year 2019, around 63.5% of the readers were women and 36.65% readers were men. 

Reading Statistics In The U.S. According To Ethnicity

Reading Statistics According To Ethnicity
  1. White is the most common ethnicity among readers, comprising about 73.1% of total readers.
EthnicitiesPercentage Of Readers
Hispanic or Latino10.8%
Black or African American8.7%
Unknown 3.4%
American Indian Alaska Native2.2%

Source: Zippia

Go through the following data to determine the average time spent on reading by individuals in the United States as per their ethnicity for the year 2021. 

EthnicitiesTime In Hours
Black African/American0.16

Source: Statista.

Reading Statistics As Per Employment Status

A survey conducted in the U.S. from the year 2018 to 2021 has found that unemployed citizens spent most of their time reading. 

Employment Status Time spent on reading( in 2018)Time spent on reading(in 2019)Time spent on reading(in 2020)Time spent on reading(2021)
Employed (total)0.17 hours0.18 hours0.22 hours0.19 hours
Employed full-time0.15 hours0.15 hours0.21 hours0.17 hours
Employed part-time0.26 hours0.27 hours0.24 hours0.24 hours
Unemployed0.42 hours0.44 hours0.52 hours0.42 hours

Source: Statista.

  1. The average daily reading time of 25.2 minutes is spent by unemployed citizens, whereas full-time employed citizens spend 11 minutes reading per day.

Book Sales Statistics In The United States

The unit sales of the book are increasing, but there is a drop in overall revenue as people are opting for different forms of entertainment. 

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in bookstore sales in the year 2021 due to the lockdown.

Book Sales Statistics By Year.

The table below shows the sale of books from 2012 to 2021 in the United States. 

YearUnits SoldBook Sales
2012591 Million $30.9 Billion 
2013620 Million $30.6 Billion 
2014635 Million $30.5 Billion 
2015653 Million $31.3 Billion 
2016674 Million $31.3 Billion 
2017686.9 Million $31.2 Billion 
2018698.4 Million $29.3 Billion 
2019693.7 Million $27.8 Billion 
2020757.9 Million $25.7 Billion 
2021825.8 Million $27.9 Billion 

Source: Statista

  1. The year 2021 demonstrated an increase in the sale of books which was around $27.9 billion, as compared to 2020, which was $25.7 billion.
  2. In 2019, the US book industry generated around $25 billion.
  3. Around 2,600 various companies make up the US publishing industry.
  4. By 2025, the US book market is expected to generate more than $30 billion.

Online Book Sales Statistics

According to the data from tonerbuzz, 

  1. The E-commerce sales value of the magazine and U.S. books, including eBooks and audiobooks, was around $18.6 billion.
  2. In 2021, online book sales in the United States were around $16.7 billion. 
  3. The global online book service market size is expected to expand from about $18.8 billion in 2020 to $27.8 billion in 2027. 
  4. Around 65% of the new book sales online, both in digital format and print format, are done on Amazon. 
  5. In 2021, more than 10% of Amazon’s revenue came from book sales.

Book Sales Statistics By Genre

According to Toner Buzz.

  1. 322,564 units of adult non-fiction were sold in the year 2021, with a 4.4% increase compared to 2020.
  2. 174,190 units of adult fiction were sold in the year 2021, with a 25.5% increase as compared to the last year.
  3. Hardcover books sold 249,788 units of books, with an increase of 10.3% as compared to the previous year. 
  4. Inspirational and religious books are the bestselling non-fiction genre ($720 million), and romance novels are the bestselling fiction genre ($1.44 billion). 
  5. The bestselling book in the children’s genre was Dav Pilkey’s “Dog Man: Mothering Heights.”

Let’s have a look at the book sales by Genre in 2021.

GenreUnits soldAdult Nonfiction
Adult nonfiction322,5644.4%
Adult fiction174,190 25.5%
Juvenile nonfiction75,059 6.2%
Juvenile fiction201,8689.6%
Young adult fiction 30,974 30.7%
Young adult nonfiction4,3168.3% 
Hardcover books 249,78810.3%
Trade paperback books 457,2189.3%
Mass market paperback books38,2153.1%
Children’s board books 49,820 13.2%

Comic Book Sale Statistics

Sometimes life can be boring and stressful; in such situations, comic books are the best way of escapism. 

  1. The sales of Graphic novels rose by 65% in the year 2021. 
  2. The sale of Manga comic books increased by 171.7% in the year 2021.
  3. The sale of superhero comic books increased by 2.3% in 2021.
  4. Adult graphic novels are the best-selling ones and are up 107% from the previous year.

Poetry Book Sale Statistics

Until the rise of social media, poetry books were a slow-selling category, but there has been a boost in the sale of poetry books in recent years. 

The data below shows the preferred format of reading for poetry readers.

Reading FormatPreferred Choice (In Percentage)
Print books only 29.30%
Both ebooks and audiobooks32.60%
Ebooks only28.20%
Audiobooks only9.90%


  1. In 2018, around 1.3 million volumes of poetry were sold. 
  2. People under the age of 34 are the maximum number of poetry buyers constituting around 66%

Children’s Book Sale Statistics

The given data represents the market size of children’s books in the United States from the year 2013 to 2023. 

YearMarket Size. 
2013$1773.5 million
2014$2104 million
2015$1894.1 million 
2016$1944.1 million 
2017$2192.3 million 
2018$2212.5 million 
2019$2350.8 million 
2020$2473.8 million 
2021$2525.8 million
2022$2581.9 million 
2023$2622.7 million

Source: IBISWorld 

  1. About $2.6 billion was generated by the children’s book publishing industry in the year 2022. 
  2. There has been an increase in the sales of children’s books by 3.3% since 2017. 

Interesting And Fun Facts About Reading

Here I have listed some interesting and fun statistics about reading that you might be unaware of. 

  1. Around 68% of the stress can be relieved by reading as compared to taking a walk, listening to music etc. (the University of Minnesota) 
  2. It is demonstrated that lifelong readers have a Low rate of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia as compared to their peers. (Toner Buzz)
  3. As per the research conducted by the Pew Research Center, around 30% of Americans read e-books rather than paperbacks. 
  4. Children who read 5 minutes every day take in 282,000 new words every year. 
  5. Reading increases emotional intelligence and career outlook (CNBC). 
  6. The research conducted by the American Psychological Association states that teenagers spend more time on social media rather than reading. 
  7. According to world reading statistics, reading fiction books can help one be a better decision-maker. 
  8. Association of American Publishers reported a 16.5% increase in audiobook downloads in 2020 and a 13% increase in 2021
  9. It is demonstrated that 50% of people who have reading habits before going to bed have reported better sleep than non-readers. (SleepJunkie) 

Related Read:

Conclusion: US Book Reading Statistics (2024)

Familiarising yourself with the reading statistics will help you to broaden your perspective regarding the reading culture and determine the trends that have shaped it. 

Reading might seem old-fashioned compared to other modern forms of entertainment like social media, virtual reality gaming etc., but reading offers the most immersive and beneficial entertainment experience.

That’s all for U.S. book reading statistics. Go through all the statistics mentioned above and let us know your thoughts on them in the comments section below.


What is the growth rate of the children’s book publishing industry in the U.S.? 

According to IBISWorld, the market size of the children’s book publishing industry is expected to increase by 1.6% in the year 2023. 

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

Answer: According to Pew Research Center, The average amount of books read by an American in a year is 12. 

Which is the most-read book in the world? 

The Holy Bible is the most-read book in the world. According to the Guinness World Records, in 2021, around 5 billion copies were sold. The Harry Potter series is another set of books with 500 million copies being sold. 

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