How many books does the average reader get through in a year? Do you think you read more or less than the average person?
If you want to read more books but feel like you don’t have the time, then this article is for you.
Below, research will show the average number of books read annually in the U.S.
Later, we’ll offer advice on how to read more books in a given year.
How many books does the average person read?
According to Pew Research Center, Americans read books at an average of 12 books yearly, or once a month. That doesn’t mean that every American reads 12 books a year.
The average number of books read, divided by the number of people who read, gives us that number.
Some read a lot more, and some read a lot less. The average adult American reads around four books a year, or one every three months.
Results on book readership from the Pew Research Center tell us that:
In 2021, around 75% of Americans have read at least one book in the past year.
Around 65 percent had read a print book.
30% had reported reading an e-book but not read a print book.
23% had listened to an audiobook but had not read a print or e-book.
How many books should you read in a year?
How many books you should read in a year depends on your reading needs.
If you study, the number of books you should read in a year will probably be more than someone who’s not a student.
Rather than asking how many books you should read in a year, let’s explore how many books you can read in a year.
Some people are known to read so many books, as much as over a hundred books in a year, so how do they do it? Where do they find the time?
Reading more is quite simple when you organize your time well.
How many books can you read in a year?
If you read one book weekly, there’s a good chance you can reach an overall reading average of up to 52 books in a given year.
Reading one book a week may sound like a difficult task, but when you set aside reading time and take the other advice we’ve outlined later in the article, it becomes much easier to read a book in one week.
Still, 52 is a lot of books to read in a year.
It’s important to be realistic with your reading goals. If you set too high a number, you’ll likely become overwhelmed and discouraged, and you may end up giving up on your reading goals altogether.
A recent survey by UK-based contact lens supplier Lenstore tested the reading speed of 1600 participants.
Participants read a passage and answer comprehension after reading. They found that the average participant read the passage in 101 seconds.
30 minutes of daily reading at the average reading speed means the average person can read around 33 books a year, assuming book lengths averages is around 90,000 words.
Those with faster reading speeds, for example, 60 seconds for a given passage, can read up to 55 books per year with 30 minutes of daily reading.
Thirty minutes of daily reading is not a lot of time. Given that the average person spends around 2 hours scrolling on social media daily, it’s not unrealistic to fit a half hour of reading into your daily schedule.
To find out how to add that 30 minutes, check out the reading tips and improvement habits we’ve outlined below.
How to read more books
Here are some tips on how to increase your reading list:
1. Try an e-book reader
E-book readers are an easy way to read more books with convenience and time-efficiency. More and more people are choosing to read e-books over print, given the convenience of e-book readers.
Kindle devices make it easier to read on demand. These portable, lightweight devices can hold thousands of books at a time.
Their design makes them easy to carry, so you can take them out and read whenever you find free time, such as on a commute, at a coffee shop, or when waiting for an appointment.
According to a survey, over 335 million e-books were sold in 2019 in the U.S. alone.
Reading E books is more cost-effective than reading print books, and e-book readers are also budget-friendly. As such, e books make it much easier to get more reading done in a given year compared to reading print books alone.
2. Listen to audiobooks
Yes, audiobooks count as reading.
While reading requires more active engagement than listening, listening to audiobooks immerses you in the story’s world. The difference is the aid of a narrator.
Listening to audiobooks can get you excited about reading more.
A well-crafted mystery novel or a compelling nonfiction work can open a shy reader’s eyes to a world of literature that can spark a passion for reading.
Once you get more comfortable with reading, you’ll probably want to explore other works by authors whom you found and enjoyed by listening to audiobooks.
3. Set aside reading time
Set aside a reasonable amount of time – 15-45 minutes or longer if you prefer to read each day or a few days a week.
It helps to stick to a consistent reading time, such as before you go to sleep or when you wake up in the morning.
Soon, consistent reading forms a habit, and you’ll appreciate those calming, serene, and insightful moments.
Taking around 30 minutes to read before you sleep is a great way to wind down your mind and body. It’s a much healthier alternative to scrolling through your phone, using a computer, or watching television.
4. Take a reading challenge
Reading challenges are a great way to increase the number of books you read in a year.
Find a selection of books that interest you and create a reading schedule. The challenge is to stick to the schedule.
If you’re unsure which books to read, find an existing reading challenge online and consider the suggested reading material.
5. Join a book club
Book clubs are a great way to get excited about reading. Create your book club with your friends or join a local club and share ideas, insights, and likes and dislikes about books and authors.
Some people don’t like the idea of book clubs because they can be intimidating, especially if you’re not an avid reader, but don’t fret. Find people you feel comfortable with, and allow yourself to go at your own pace.
Soon, the joy of discussing books and authors will motivate you to read. You won’t read because you feel like you should but because you want to.
6. Explore different genres
Fantasy is one of the most popular genres in fiction—Book series like George RR. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series or JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are popular among avid readers, but just because everyone else likes them doesn’t mean you have to.
If you’re not much of a reader and you’ve tried to read more by reading popular fantasy novels, you may grow frustrated with their complexity and density.
You don’t have to read a particular genre to enjoy reading. There are so many genres, from mystery thrillers to true crime to satire, that there is something for everyone.
Books for people who don’t like to read
If you don’t usually like to read books, the books listed below are a great way to get started.
Even if you don’t like the reading process because it requires too much focus or patience, you still probably love a good story.
Stories have been a way for humanity to teach and share experiences for as long as we have been around. It’s an innate human quality to appreciate a good story.
So, if you’re not much of a reader but you want to get started, the following are some great stories, to begin with.
The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea is the simple tale of one man’s quest to overcome nature.
It’s a meaningful, easy, and quick read. It also contributes to the discussion, as readers and non-readers will resonate with its message.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
When Earth gets destroyed, human Arthur Dent must navigate through the Universe with his alien friend, who has been tasked with creating the comprehensive Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
With quirky company and a curious mind, readers won’t forget Arthur’s journey.
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
Whether or not you like reading, the title of this book is sure to catch you.
As an adult, you may not think much about a particular school lesson, but the content of Loewen’s book is sure to make you go ‘hmmm..’ What did your teacher lie to you about? What’ facts’ from history weren’t exactly true?
The point of Loewen’s book is not to blame your teacher but to open your eyes to the school’s euro-centric focus on American history, to enlighten the reader on the real history of America through an examination of twelve popular high school history textbooks.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist is a short, easy read.
The story follows Santiago, a young shepherd who embarks on a journey to discover a treasure. Santiago’s journey is self-discovery and may be considered a self-help book.
Coelho’s narrative emphasizes the importance of opening oneself up to experience the fullness of life and follow one’s dreams.
With fewer than 200 pages, The Alchemist is an easy read that will help even those who don’t usually read discuss a classic novel. Everyone can resonate with the protagonist’s journey.
Why read more books?
Did you know that reading has health benefits? Whether you read fiction or non fiction books is less important than the fact you’re reading in the first place.
Several studies have found that reading increases overall intellect, boosts communication skills, and strengthens the brain.
Reading also expands your capacity for understanding and empathy. Good novels offer insight into the psychology of human behavior and relationships and can enlighten on your questions and struggles in your own life.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to improve your reading habits.
At first, reading more books may feel like a difficult task – where do you even find the time?
Granted, you may live a busy life, but setting aside to read more can only benefit you. Start slow and pace yourself, and your reading skills and habits will drastically improve before you know it.