Day 2: How Much Do People Read?

So yesterday, on a whim, I looked up “how much do people read” because, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to see how I stack up. For the past 3 1/2 + years I have been in the habit of reading on weekday mornings, and I also read at night-time often.  I have read over 100 books in that time, which roughly translates to about 30 books a year.  I guess I  have always had a strangely competitive attitude about reading books (yeah…not exactly an obvious topic to be competitive about), which probably goes back to being a child and somehow this developed when comparing myself to my sister and brother and their reading.  At the time, it probably was over the issue of how fast I read.  I thought that reading fast was the way to go.  Of course, when you are a child, and a boy, then probably everything is about going fast.  After all, the fastest wins, right?

Anyway, I can understand if it sounds a bit silly to be competitive about reading.  These days, I’m really not that concerned about how fast I read (I probably read about average speed.  I never really got into the speed reading thing).  Instead, I just like that I read regularly.  However, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that the competitive child in me (who apparently still remains!) has been delighted by the idea that, by reading regularly as I do, I probably read more than the average adult.

I wanted to test the idea out, see if that was actually true. So I looked it up yesterday.  According to, the average American adult reads 12 books a year… however, this number is highly inflated by  high-volume readers.  The number that is actually most common is 4 books a year.

The average American adult reads 4 books a year.  I guess I win!

(Note: hopefully the confessional nature of this doesn’t make me look like a jack ass.  I find the reading data about our reading habits genuinely interesting.  I do have a personal value, probably from my upbringing, that says that reading is important, and that people ought to do it.  That being said, I have had numerous close friends in my life who were not readers, so I am aware that there are other ways of being that are also equally valid).

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2 Thoughts to “Day 2: How Much Do People Read?”

  1. Tammie Wong

    Wow! You and my mom devour books! That’s terrific 🙂

    1. Chris

      Thanks, Tammie! That to me is a huge compliment

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