A quarter of UK adults keep up their lockdown reading habits

23 April 2022

  • 25.56% of people say they started reading more during the lockdowns and have kept this up
  • A third of respondents (33.02%) say more time to themselves would enable them to read more
  • 38.34% of respondents say reading helps them ‘feel better’ and 28.76% say they read as part of their self-care
  • 40.99% of over 55s read every day, while just 10.61% of 16-24-year-olds do
  • 11.16% of UK adults never read

The Reading Agency has found that a quarter (25.56%) of UK adults started reading more during lockdowns and have continued to as society reopens following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Announced on World Book Night, the annual celebration of reading on 23 April, this survey from The Reading Agency demonstrates how having to stay at home encouraged many adults to find the joy in reading again.

A third (33.02%) of UK adults surveyed (Censuswide omnibus survey, 7-11 April, sample 2,008) say having more time to themselves would enable them to read more. 38.34% of respondents say reading helps them ‘feel better’ and 28.76% say they read as part of their self-care.

Older adults are reading the most with 40.99% of over-55s reading every day. 55.31% of 16-24-year-olds were found to read at least once a week with a quarter (25.88%) of the age group saying that talking about books and reading has helped them feel closer to others. 23.25% of 16-24 year olds say reading has helped them learn a new skill and 18.42% say reading has helped them start a new career or business.

World Book Night is celebrating this national shared love of reading with a live-streamed event hosted by The Reading Agency Ambassador, Bobby Seagull, and featuring World Book Night author Dr Alex George (Live Well Every Day), Quick Reads authors Ayisha Malik (Sofia Khan and the Baby Blues) and Lemn Sissay (My Name is Why), and author and The Reading Agency ambassador Dreda Say Mitchell (Say Her Name). This will be followed by the #ReadingHour from 7-8pm, an hour for people across the country to focus on books and dedicate one hour to reading, sharing their reads and reading tips on social media.

Reading groups across the country are hosting their own events to mark the occasion and share a love of reading, while 738 organisations, including prisons, hospitals, youth centres, care homes and mental health groups will be gifting 84,000 books to help spread the joy of books to all.

Karen Napier MBE, CEO at The Reading Agency, said:
“This research shows how many people have continued to enjoy reading after picking it up during the lockdowns. It also demonstrates the enormous benefits that reading can have on our health and wellbeing, helping us to feel connected to the world and those around us. This World Book Night, our national celebration of reading, we want to inspire communities across the country to celebrate the power that books have to make us feel better. We hope people across the country will engage with our #ReadingHour at 7pm on Saturday 23 April, taking the time to enjoy a good book either on their own or with friends and family.”

Other findings revealed include:

  • 76.28% of people read at least once a month
  • 55.31% of young people read at least once a week
  • 14.39% of 16-24-year-olds say becoming a more confident reader would enable them to fit in more reading, while 23.11% say that more knowledge on books that are suitable for their reading ability would be helpful
  • People in Greater London (17.51%), Northern Ireland (17.02%) and Scotland (15.71%) have had the greatest reading rebounds, finding more time to read now after reading less during lockdowns
  • The North East is home to the most voracious readers with 35.71% of residents surveyed reading every day

To find out more or to get involved, visit "worldbooknight.org ":worldbooknight.org

Follow the latest developments on social media:

@WorldBookNight @ReadingAgency

#WorldBookNight #ReadingHour #ReadOn #QuickReads

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