Nathan Bransford, Author

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How Many Books Did You Read Last Year?

I'm sure by now you have heard the sobering news that one in four Americans did not read a single book last year. 25%. Two and a half out of ten. Two bits. The proportion represented by 15 minutes on a clock. You get the idea.

Meanwhile, the typical person read four books. But as we all know from the comments section, the people who read this blog are far from typical.

So you tell me: how many books did you read last year?

In keeping with my recent tradition of asking You Tell Me questions I can't answer myself, I read... uh... maybe 50? I'm not really sure. The thing is, it's hard to estimate because while I spend a good portion of every day reading, I spend most of my time reading partial manuscripts and proposals, and I can't really count those. So I'll say 50 to be safe. A good round number.

What about you?


Heidi the Hick said...

I've read 35 books since January. I've been keeping track this year.

Some were middle grade fiction and got gobbled up in one day. Others were non-fiction and had titles such as "Why your crappy little so called book isn't good enough yet but here's how you can turn it into something readable".

I've read LOTS of YA. Sometimes I read something grown up and brain expanding.

Now HOW, you might ask, does Heidi do so much reading and still take weekly riding lessons, do barn help, take care of two pets and raise two kids? And spend a few hours each day perfecting a query letter?? Easy. I taught the kids how to do laundry. And accepted that the house will always be a mess. When the kids were babies I didn't read, or write; I'm making up for it now.

Vernieda said...

I read that article a couple weeks ago and found it depressing. Especially since I KNOW people who are proud of the fact they read no books last year and are thus part of that statistic. I don't know. That's not something I'd be proud of myself but different values, I guess.

As for your question, last year I read:
57 novels
3 non-fiction books
38 volumes of manga
1 graphic novel
2 unpublished manuscripts

Yes, I keep track of this stuff. (How utterly dorktastic.) Obviously, I need to read more nonfiction books.

Pixy said...

Sheesh! Us true readers have a heavy load to carry to make up for all those cray lazies. :(

How many have I read this year? far, I think I've read about 20 (novels). Maybe 25 (on average I'm usually at about 35 a year).

Now, how many I buy, though, is a totally different story...

I really need to keep better track. I just read something the other day from a guy who journals about all the books he reads so he can remind himself which parts of what made him all inspired.

These days I can barely make a grocery list, let alone a book list. Something to shoot for. :)

cynjay said...

I average about one book a week, so that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25-30. I've probably started about 40, but I'm not one to keep with a book I don't like.

C.J. said...

ok, i'll do my part to keep the average down a little bit here. last year? maybe 15 books - but if i can get two links on my construction paper book worm chain for hard ones, i'll be in better shape : )

Danette Haworth said...

One or two a week, at night (hence my insomnia). So I guess that's about fifty so far this year.

Deborah K. White said...

Someone on my critique forum asked this same question, and I answered "about 50 non-fiction books for research and about 50 novels for fun." I only bought about 25 of those books, though.

Right now, I'm spending so much time reading blogs to research the publishing industry, I'm not sure that I'm keeping up my quota on non-fiction books. Reading blogs is still reading, but... In a week or two, I'm going to start seriously writing on my second novel, which will severely cut back on my novel reading. I suspect that I might only hit 50 or 60 books total this year.

urbansherpa said...

At least 10 (so far)... but I've been writing and marketing.

Kathy from NC said...

Sigh! I need a life - 438 last year & 227 so far this year. I'd say 20% is YA or juvie, the rest ranges from, SF, chick lit, real novels & 10% NF.

I'm currently reading "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean, Asimov's Science fiction : 30th Anniversary Anthology Edited by Sheila Williams and The Botany of Desire : a Plant's Eye View of the world
by Michael Pollan.

Troy Masters said...

I was just trying to figure this out last night for my blog post...I believe the number landed at 33 novels (31 of which were more enjoyable than THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, but that's another story). I too thought I read about one per week, but when it came time to tally it up, I could only remember those 33. Oh well. I blame Gravity's Rainbow.

The good news with this lack of book-buying is that we don't need to worry about midlist authors strolling down the street in their Don King bling anytime soon...that could be frightening.

Scott said...

I don't know about last year, but I've been keeping track this year, and making a bit of a game of it. I've finished 31, and have three in the works right now, although my reading has slowed in August due to some long hours at work and an increase in writing time.

This year I've tried to get in more YA/MG books than before, although I'd still like to do more, and I've read less of what I normally read (to try to expand my horizons), and I've read some stuff friends gave me that I probably never would have picked up on my own, such as a friend's published translation of a classic Japanese kabuki play.

If anybody's curious, my list (and how far I would have traveled if pages were miles) can be found at

JaxPop said...

Since January 63 that I wanted to read - 34 YA that I had to read (market research you know - ugh). Unfortunately, I buy all of the books that I read, the OCD / clean hands thing kicks into high gear when I even think about library books. On a positive note - I do donate most of the books to the library when I'm done. It's a one way membership.

Katie said...

I'm really not sure. A LOT of my reading is re-reading my favorites. Do I count those, if I really read them the whole way through?

I guess I'd place my guess at around 50-70. I go in spurts and go a month without reading much (trying to get other stuff done, and writing) and then I read like crazy and read 6-10 in a week. Honestly, I've read less last year and this year, since I started writing, than I did before. I used to read for the book moments where my imagination took off in scenes that the author didn't write. Now, I've got stories of my own to let my imagination take off on.

J M Peltier said...

I can't say about last year, but I've been keeping track this year. I don't know what it is, but everyone seems to be doing that. Must be some kind of meme that went around in December.

Anyway, for me I'm at 37 for this year and working on 2 right now.

spyscribbler said...

Last year I probably read a hundred or more. This year, though, I've probably only read twenty or thirty books so far. It's been a very strange and busy year!

Anonymous said...

I average about a book/week, so I'll go with 52 books last year.

cyn said...

crikey. i have no idea. at least a dozen to twenty? i didn't start reading avidly again (due to having two little ones) until i started to write the first novel.

i married one of those 25% non-readers. =X

Mig said...

Can't remember last year, but I've read 8 since January. I expect another 2 to 4 books this year. This is typical for most years.

Conduit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conduit said...

I'm light for the first part of this year, because what spare time I had was taken up mostly by writing. Things like housework and gardening have also taken a back seat, but now I'm in the clear again I'll hopefully catch up.

Anyway, I'd guess at about fifteen books, though probably three of four of those didn't get finished. It used to be I would finish a book no matter how bad it is, seeing as I spent the money, but these days time is just too precious to waste on crap.

My to-read pile is getting smaller over the last week or two, so now there's only about six or seven in the queue. I've had Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box in that pile for months, and have finally gotten to it - very, very good so far. He's his father's son, all right.

Lauren said...

I always keep a list of the books I read -- title, author, and the month in which I read it.

Last year I had a lousy year -- only 14 books. I couldn't even tell you why. I was hardly writing either. I got out of the habit of doing both. Sad. I have to say, for a while I saw how easy it was NOT to read books... but now that I'm reading regularly again, I can't imagine how I lived without it.

This year I've already read nearly 30 books. Mostly novels, with a few memoirs, essay collections, and non-academic nonfic books mixed in. Got back into my writing habit, too, and have written about 80,000 words of fiction so far this year.

Christopher M. Park said...

Well, last year was bad for me reading-wise, because I was still finishing up my bachelors. So, I guess I read maybe 10 novels for pleasure, maybe 3 nonfiction books, and the bulk of 7 textbooks, along with a myriad of short stories and other supplemental fiction and nonfiction for school.

This year has been a lot better for pleasure reading. I guess I've read about 25-30 novels so far this year, and I think only two nonfiction books.

A lot of my nonfiction reading is technology-related, and comes from the Internet or from magazines. I'd have to say I read an average of twenty articles a week, even when I was in school. That's not counting all the writing-related/agent blogs I've started reading since February this year.

I bring up the magazines and Internet articles because I do think they are relevant to your question. If I didn't have those, I would definitely be reading nonfiction books on those same subjects instead. So the Internet is definitely reducing the amount of nonfiction I'm reading, although it's had no effect whatsoever on my fiction habits.


Maya Reynolds said...

I'm so impressed by all these people who keep a record of the books they've read. I barely manage to keep track of my shoes. While they're on my feet.

Before I got serious about writing, I averaged a book a week. Now most of my free time is occupied with writing. I'm probably reading two or three books a month so I've cut my book reading virtually in half.

I hadn't actually thought about it until you asked the question, Nathan, but my article reading is way up (primarily because of my blog). It's easy to read a newspaper or magazine article online while I'm taking a writing break or having lunch at work. I carry magazines in my bag to read while I'm waiting at the doctor's office or even at long stop lights [grin]. So I'm reading as much as ever, just in different mediums.

John said...

39 fiction, 18 non-fiction so far in 2007, which is already better in sum than last year's 22 and 23, respectively. I've also read 86 short stories and 71 poems this year.

Dorktastic, perhaps, but I keep track of these things, with a spreadsheet. I also have another spreadsheet with a list of books I want to read, so I don't forget when someone recommends something to me but I can't go pick it up right then. There are 186 books on that list. Oh, and then there are the 64 books that I own that I haven't read yet.

I'll be busy for a while.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

144 for both 2006 and 2005. This year, I'm writing more, which means reading less. I've just now cracked 70, which is embarrassing to admit when you've read 144 the previous two years...

What's scary is that despite reading all this, my stacks waiting to be read are GROWING.

Anonymous said...

I think I read somehwere in the neighborhood of 30-35. Thirty fiction/5 non (background reading for current novel I'm writing, so maybe that doesn't count.)

Larry D. Sweazy said...

Has anyone flipped those numbers around and said, cool--3 out of 4 people read a novel last year? I think the 75% that did, are far more important than the 25% that didn't. Well, that's just me looking for good news in the publishing world. So--I'm one of those 75%--I'd say I read 20 novels. Bought them all, too.

burgy61 said...

Sad to say I was one of those statistics until I started to write. Last year I read maybe a dozen,thats all I can recall reading.

I'm working on number seven for this year now, The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub.

Calenhíril said...

I did a meme on this earlier in the year. I don't keep track of the specific books (though I will one day!), but I can tell you they're all in the fantasy category ;)

To make the math easy, I average about ten books a month. That would put me somewhere around 80, then.

Liz said...

So far since May I've read 22 books and it is quite the mix. I keep track of them on my blog.

When I was manning the YA desk at the library, I read 80 YA titles from Jan 2005 to November 2006. They still have my list, sorted by genre, on their website.

'drew said...

My answer might seem a little trollish among this crowd, but I don't keep track, and I don't think I'd want to. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and we had these forms to fill out at the library when we read books, and if we read a certain number of books a month, we'd get rewarded with free pizza. And even as a kid I thought that was backwards. They might as well have told me to keep track of the pizza I ate, and rewarded me for eating pizza by letting me read books. Then as now, I enjoyed reading books, and didn't need any extra reward to make myself read.

I think the Pizza Reading Program contributed to this statistic. It presented reading as a virtue, something you should do to appease your teachers. And keeping track of something always suggests that it's a virtue or a vice. If I keep track of the time I spend exercising, because I think exercising is a virtue, and want to show that I do enough. If I count calories, it's because I think overeating is a vice, and I want to show that I'm not eating too much.

So there's this moralizing side to keeping track of reading, that we might suggest we are more virtuous than the average four-book-a-year readers, and much moreso than the non-readers. But we don't sit down with books to be superior; ideally, we read books because we like them. They make us happy.

If 25% of Americans don't find that kind of happiness in books, then I hope they are finding the happiness somewhere. If I'm reading a book and it isn't making me happy, I'll find another book, because I don't think it's un-virtuous to stop reading something if it isn't making me happy.

Stuart said...

I usually read about 10 novels a year. My taste in fiction usually runs toward tomes, so that may account for the low number. I've been better this year, though, seeing as I've already read 10.

I don't keep track of non-fiction, since I'm likely to pick a random book off my shelf, read a chapter or so and put it back.

Jenny said...

My public library gives me a list of the books I've checked out in the last 12 months.

There were 262 of them.

Of those, I probably didn't read 25--either they were checked out for someone else or they were too awful to finish.

I also bought around 12 books.

Did I mention, we don't have cable and I rarely watch TV?

I read 90% nonfiction. This year I've been working my way through the Biography section of the Greenfield Mass. library, which has a lot of biographies I'd missed over the years.

I also read popular science, heath, history, sociology, archeology, and anything else that sounds interesting.

In fiction I mostly read mysteries, classic English novels, and romances by a very short list of very good writers most of whom started writing in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Nancy said...

You guys should join I've never kept track of the books I've read before, but it's a great way to do it, and gives you a chance to look back at what you've read, for curiousity's sake. I do agree with the guy who wrote about the pizza, though. Reading should be fun, and not considered some virtuous activity that should be rewarded.

Roxan said...

I confess to only having read two, but I have an excuse and I'm using it.

Chris Howard said...

I haven't kept track, but I'd guess somewhere between 30 and 40.

Don said...

Pizza guy, you've described the Premack Principle perfectly.

As for me, I've tracked my reading since 1995. 1996: 46 books. So far this year: 62. Commuting by public transit really helps keep that number high.

Jess said...

I don't about last year because I wasn't counting, although I know I read 20 in June, July, and August (my goal was at least one book a week).

This year I am keeping track and of course I'm doing worse. I've only read 20 books so far this year total, not just the summer. I guess that's what happens when you get a full-time job, eh?

Luc2 said...

About twenty last year. But I read and crit a lot of story on my online critique workshop.
I have to say, since I'm writing and critting, I'm looking too much at technicalities. It spoils part of the reading experience.

Anonymous said...

I agree with nancy. The site is great -- not only does it help me keep track of what I've read, but it also is an easy way to list what I *intend* to read. That way, when I head off the library, I already have a list and don't have to meander (although treasures are certainly found in the meandering process).

Speaking of recommending Web sites, anyone taking advantage of It seems like it has some pretty great potential, but will need more participants before things like the statistics area will be fully representative.

Church Lady said...

So far, here's the run-down of the winners and losers:

Heidi the Hick: 35
Vernieda: 101
Pixy: 20
Cynjay: 25
C.J. : 15
Danette: 50
Deborah: 100
Urbansherpa: 10
Kathy: 227
Troy: 33
Scott: 31
Jaxpop: 34
Katie: 60
JM: 37
Spyscribbler: 25
Cyn: 15
Mig: 8
Conduit: 15
Lauren: 30
Christoper: 27
Maya: 18
John: 57
Susan: 70
Larry: 20
Burgy: 7
Calenhiril: 80
Liz: 22
Drew: Same amount as pizza
Stuart: 10
Jenny: 237
Roxan: 2
Don: 62
Jess: 20

Clearly a lot of excuses were intermingled with the numbers. Clearly a lot of slackers in there. Drew needs to eat more than pizza, and Heidi needs to clean her house.

Jenny, at 237, leaves Kathy (227) in the dust.

As for me, I only read one Good Book.

Tammie said...

I've read that stat to and I don't know I'm finding it hard to believe.

I'm about 2 books a month. Last year probably 30.

Others have asked what and how many so I decided a few months back to put small blurbs on my blog about the books I've read in addition to my 2-be-read pile just to help me keep track.

2readornot said...

I'll guess around 100 a year. When I was younger (no kids), it was closer to 300. C'est la vie.

And when I was in elementary school, I averaged two or three a day.

Laurie said...

A few years ago I kept a log of every book I read. I averaged three books a week. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that's over 150 books a year. (I know, I need to get a life.)

Chumplet said...

I'd figure 5 or 10 but I can't be sure because I don't keep track. I was too busy writing.

katemoss said...

I always find it interesting when writers say they're not big readers. Reading is vital to my writing! When I see how well another author does something, it makes me want to head back to the current WIP and get back to work. If I had to guess I'd say I've read somewhere around 60 books this year so far.

David de Beer said...

25% did not read a book; however, that follows that 75% did, which is a number I find positive, having worked in book retail for a lot of years.
Some other data I saw recently, indicates that from 2002 till 2006, the % of Americans who read has increased from 50% to 75%.

you might find this of interest:

As to your question, I don't know - some dozen or so novels, several short fiction magazines I follow on either a regular or near-regular basis; and lots of non-fiction.
I read less now, slower almost except for holidays. Read somewhere between 15-30 novels a year.

Josephine Damian said...

Well, my book club meets each month, so that's twelve right there.

I average about two more/month, so I'll say at least 36 books per year. And in the years when I haven't been in school, I averaged about a book a week.

My tastes are literary, English crime novels, historicals and non-fic/memoirs, but now that I'm writing a commercial thriller, I read more of those just to see what the American industry considers successful.

Subservient No More said...

Between year round grad school and book club there must be at least 40. Then on school vacations I get all excited because I can read all the other things I want so that starts to add up too. I'm going to say at least 50 or 60. That would average to about a book per week, but when school's in session its more like two or three. How am I not blind? Better yet, how are you not blind reading that much plus queries and manuscripts? I'll bet that you wear glasses.

liquidambar said...

I had the same reaction as Larry Sweazey and David De Beer--75% of Americans read at least one book last year! That seems pretty good to me. With all the gloom-and-doom reporting on how nobody reads any more, I was afraid it would've been something like 10%.

I don't track the number of books I read. I often reread books, and I'm not sure how I would count that. I'll often read several essays or stories in a collection, but not the whole collection--again, tough to count. In addition to books, I read short stories, magazines, and web materials. All I know is that I typically read for at least 2 hours a day.

writtenwyrdd said...

This is my slowest reading year since I can remember. I've only read something like 25 so far. I read about fifteen of them during my vacation.

Loquacious Me said...

I couldn't even begin to count how many books I read in the last year. I never even thought of keeping track!

I do know that I've read five in the last six days, however.

'drew said...

Church Lady, I'm not sure if you're meaning to parody a moralistic "Church Lady" kind of tone, or if you're serious, and thus missed my point.

I read a lot of books. I love reading books. However, counting the number of books I've read in the last year, to me, is a little like counting the number of smiles I've had in the last year, or counting the number of ice cubes I've had in the last year. I don't know. I smile when I feel like smiling, I put ice cubes in my drink when I want it cold, and I read books when I want something to read. To count them is to suggest that there's a correct number I should have, and I don't believe that. The right number of books for you to read is the number you want to read.

I don't read books to "win" anything. I don't think people who read books are morally superior to people who don't. If reading books is enjoyable, then the enjoyment of reading a book is enough reward.

Shari said...

36. A bunch of YA, some literary fiction, a few non-fiction.

vernieda, I LOVE your word "dorktastic"! I'm sure I can apply that in my life.... :)

Kathleen said...

last year was around 50, not counting the many books I re-read. This year I am up to 53 so far (see my blog sidebar).

as far as buying, I am a compulsive book buyer, so I have probably bought at least 50 books this year, maybe more like 70 (mostly not the same ones that I have read).

I hardly ever read magazines though. I think that I would read much less fewer books if I read magazines.

Bryan D. Catherman said...

For or five a month, so probably between 40 and 60.

This news pisses me off.

Between Aug, 2003 and April 2004, I read 36 books. This was a time I was working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, fighting a war in Iraq. I kept a book in my cargo pocket and read every time I was standing in a line or waiting for something. Telephone or internet line; food line; shower line. Waiting for convoy's to start or when Blackhawks were late. Waiting for on officer to get his head out of his ass. You get the idea.

If this overworked Staff Sergeant could read 36 books in six months in Iraq (only while standing in a line), you'd think the typical America could pull off at least one book in a year!

mkcbunny said...

I'd guess about 20 novels in a year, but my reading pace swings wildly. I'll either finish a book in a couple of days or it will take a month.

There's also The New Yorker, which has its own pile next to the bed, right next to the growing pile of books-in-waiting. I probably spend more time trying to keep up with the New Yorker pile than I do reading novels.

I also read a lot of bird and nature books for both recreational and research purposes. That's never cover-to-cover reading, so I wouldn't even know how to count it.

Treasures Antique Store said...

As the owner of a review site I average 2-3 books (and these are books, not 30-40 page novellas) a week. I cannot imagine not reading for at least a bit of each day.

Spartezda said...

Last year? Hm . . . probably about 70 fiction (mostly sf/f) and 50 or so non-fiction (everything from the house of Medici to the physics of birds). I seem on track for about the same, this year.

Dave said...

in 2006 I read 23 books.
In 2007 so far I've read 15 books.

Topaz said...

According to my lists I read 77 last year and 70 (so far) this year.

Madeleine said...

Somewhere between 60 and 80, I'd say. And I buy every one of them, so don't tell me I'm not helping out the industry! :-P In fact, I just got a notice from Barnes and Noble saying that my membership which gives me 10% off saved me 136 DOLLARS this past year! That is a LOT of books. Or at least a lot of lattes. :-D

Heidi the Hick said...

What a great comments trail!

In case anybody cares, speaking of the debate over keeping track of how many books we read, I don't see the harm in it. It's interesting. It's not meant to be competitive. (at least I hope it isn't.)

I started keeping track because I wanted to look back on what I'd actually read this year. Being an aspiring novelist, I need to read.

I read for so many reasons- education, time passing, fun, escape, and pure imaginative pleasure.

I read books, magazines, blogs, newspapers and cereal boxes. When I had two small children, I didn't read at all. I couldn't hear myself think. My husband doesn't read much because he works about 14-16 hours a day. (the last book he read was mine; before that it was THE DIRT by Motley Crue!) Rather than focus on the 25 % who don't read, I'd like to think of the 75% who do!

And let me set it straight- yeah I may need to clean my house but...anybody can do that. Not everybody can write the book that I'm writing. Nobody can read for me and darnit I wanna ride a horse every now and then. I hunted down the stink in the kitchen and got rid of it and therefore I am entitled to a good read! So there! Ha!!!

Church Lady said...

Hi Drew, I was just joking ;-) I love to parody the Church Lady. It's what my blog is about. (partly. The other part is about writing)

And I actually quite agree with you, which is why I poked fun at the numbers. I don't keep track of the number of books I read. But I'm always reading, and it's for pleasure. So I guess if I said you limit your number of smiles to ice-cubes per glass, you'd know I was joking! heeheee

But the bottom line it's great that so many people still enjoy a good book, given so many other distractions.


Jellybean said...

I read 2-3 books per week, so that would put me in at 100-150 books per year. That sounds like a lot; I should keep better track.

I feel truly sorry for people who read so few books. I can't imagine what they do with their time, much less their brainpower. I would go mad without books.

Zen of Writing said...

For some reason, I've also been keeping track this year: 53 so far. I didn't count last year, but it wasn't as many. Writing them down makes me read faster, I think.

Zen of Writing said...

Oh - mostly novels. I'm on The Charterhouse of Parma now, with Suite Francaise lined up.

joycemocha said...

Who has time to keep track?

That said, judging by the stacks of read and rejected (sold to Powell's), and read and kept, I'm up around 100 or so this year. Slowing down a bit since I got a demanding day job (special ed teacher) and went back to writing.

I read a lot less when getting my master's degree, though. Read a lot more when I was a stay-at-home mom.

And then there was the time when I was a first reader for the Endeavour award--and was the reliable backup reader. That meant I was cruising through about 40 some books for that award alone--but I doubt anyone would count stuff like that in a count, as it's work reading, of a sort.

(Dang, going back to work cuts into the blogging time! You folks have been *chatty* this week!)

A Paperback Writer said...

I didn't keep track last year. This year, since January, I've read 89. They range from YA to classics to biographies to heavy-duty literary criticism.

Ali said...

New here, thanks for the interesting blog, Nathan. I've read 30 1/2 since I started keeping track on in May. The half was half of Stephen King's "The Stand." Couldn't finish that one.

bucketgirl said...

I read at least 3 per week, usually more. Therefore, I hit at least 150 books per year. However, I continuously re-read the works of Rex Stout so I estimate that I read maybe 50 new books per year.

Anne Dayton said...

Thanks to a long subway ride twice a day, I get plenty of reading time. That's pretty much the only time I read, since I'm busy writing when I'm not at work, and I'd say around 100 last year. God bless the NYC subway.

Bernita said...

I'm in the " 'Drew" school.
I'm as likely to count the number of books I read as I would be to calculate how many times I breath.

original bran fan said...

I am in awe of the people who read 2-3 books per week. I read very sloooowwwly. I can't help it. I always have. I do read carefully, though, and am very likely to retain what I've read, even years later.

Those who can read quickly AND retain, well, I'm even more impressed!

Courtney said...

I've never kept track before this year, but so far in 2007 I've read 23, which is probably lower than previous years...especially the grad school years, but those don't really count. It's hard to believe this statistic as so many people I know read, but then again - the majority of people I spend my time with are readers. I wouldn't be surprised if my brother and his wife read less than four books a year.

Dave said...

I don't know. When I was much younger I read about 1-2 books a day on average. Now I read about 2 a week or so. So I've probably read at least 50 this year so far if not more. That includes graphic novels but not individual comic books.

Kate said...

Rough guess, 50-100 books per year. Though it may have slowed down this year because I've been reading more books about writing, which go slower than fiction. I get most of my books from the library--apologies to all the other struggling writers in the world, but I just can't afford to buy many.

Maybe I'll start actually keeping track of what I read. It could be enlightening.

Josh said...


Average of one a week, I'd say, plus a few that I go through in a day or two.

Gary James said...

I'm just waiting for the films.

Sophie W. said...

I usually read five or six books at a time, and most of those I read over and over... So are we counting individual books or individual reads?

Individual books...I'd say around 35.

Individual reads...over 80.

John Elder Robison said...

I buy 4-5 books on average each month, and now publishers send me even more.

I read at least 50-60 cover to cover, and I skim or become bored with two or three times that number.

Luckily I am a fast reader.

AmyB said...

I read about 70-80 a year. This year is the first year I started keeping track. I've read 57 books so far in 2007, and if you include the ones I read aloud to my son (all middle-grade and YA stuff) the total goes up to 72.

Lanisse said...

In an average week I will read 2-3 fiction books and may dip into a similar number of non-fiction. i guess that means I'll read 150+ books a year. I probably buy around 90% of the fiction books; the remainder, like around 70% the non-fiction,will be borrowed from any one of a collection of local libraries.

I guess that means I read too much then ;-)

witchofbreithla said...

I read somewhere around 80 books last year, and I've almost reached 100 this year (Yes, I'm a dork for keeping track. What's your point?_ A variety of things, mostly fantasy, some classics, non-fiction. I can't help it, I love to read. I always makes me sad when people say they don't like to read.

Julie Wright said...

I read at least thirty books last year; this year I've already passed that (a lot of time in airports has helped).

Anonymous said...

I know you're probably not checking this any more, since 2 days have gone by, but: 33 so far this year (the first year I've kept track since January 1). And four of those were Robert Jordan, so do I get extra credit for that? :-)


xengab said...

I on average read two- three books a week. That would be about 100 books a year. Need to factor in those longer books.
I also work with people that ready alot too. But that just could be due to the fact I work at a library.
Nothing beats the thrill of being able to paw threw the new books and advance reader copies.
What are these people doing that they have no time to read?
Love your blog Nathan, gives hope for us wish to be published writers.

sylvia said...!

Lisa said...

Last year 29, but I was in school full time. This year I'm up to 46 and it's only September. I write them down in my day planner so when friends ask what books to read or I'm looking to buy a gift for another reader I can refresh my memory.

Anonymous said...

It's tough to find time to read as the single father of an autistic child. I don't watch television, which does help. Figure one bathroom book every three weeks. (Last one was The Lusiads). Add in all the books I started, and elected not to finish. A couple of those a month. Sprinkle in those I pick up, put down, and pick up again. One a month. Leaven the lot with the mindless bubblegum intended to turn my brain off. One a fortnight. Then there are the classics I always meant to get to. Another half-dozen. Finally, those books I see at the AIDS Thrift store at a dime to the dollar. Two of those each week, three quarters of the weeks in a year.
112 books. A dozen worth remembering.

Jonathan said...

Someone read 438 books last year? That's more than 1 per day. OMG!

Alas, I only read 90, and a chunk of that was because I was in M.F.A. grad school.

But this year, I've already read 70, so grad school apparently isn't any excuse.

Vinnie Sorce said...

At least twenty-five or more. Once I finish a book I immediately pick up another from my shelf.

Angelle Trieste said...

Last year: 58.

This year so far: 55.

It takes me longer to read nonfiction than fiction.

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