Reaching the readers - key trends in book reading

Reaching the readers

As the Costa Book of the Year is announced, we use our TGI consumer data to take a look at the state of book reading amongst adults in Britain today.

TGI data reveals that 56% of adults claim to have read a book in the past year. 37% of adults who read books are ‘heavy readers’ - those who have read 10 or more in the past year.

Key differences in book choice by gender and age

When it comes to what people are reading, there are some stark differences between different genders and age groups. Men are 41% more likely than the average book reader to read science fiction and over twice as likely to read about sports, whilst women are 21% more likely to read books on health, wellbeing & self-improvement and 61% more likely to read romance novels.

Age shows similar variations. Those aged 15-24 are almost twice as likely to read fantasy & adventure books and 35% more likely to read science fiction. But those aged 65 or over are 34% more likely to read about home, gardening & DIY and 29% more likely to read historical fiction.

TGI data reveals how certain media channels can be more efficient than others for reaching those who enjoy particular book genres. Those who read horror are 35% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of internet compared to the average reader. Meanwhile, those who read biographies and autobiographies are 21% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of magazines and those who read books on computers/IT are 48% more likely to be amongst the heaviest consumers of outdoor media.

How the heaviest readers go about their reading

Returning to the 37% of book-reading adults who are heavy readers, TGI data reveals that online is very much the default option for buying books amongst this group. 71% of them buy their books online, whilst 57% do so in a shop and 4% via mail order.

Reading via eBooks is prominent amongst the heavy readers, but still lags behind paperbacks and hardbacks. Just over three quarters of them read paperbacks, 53% hardbacks and 46% eBooks 46%.

Heavy readers are particularly likely to be in their later years. TGI data shows that they are 23% more likely than the average reader to be aged 65 or over. Conversely, 15-24 year olds are 30% less likely than the average reader to be heavy readers, with only 36% of them reading 10 or more books per year. This is reflected in lifestages, with Senior Sole Decision Makers (aged 55+, not married or living as a couple and live alone) 26% more likely to be heavy readers, but Flown the Nest-ers (aged 15-34, not married or living as a couple and do not live with relations) 29% less likely. 



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