Britons Reading Less Than Americans

Rate of reading among Britons plummets after years of austerity.

TGI consumer research from Kantar Media released in 2019 suggests just 51% of adults in the UK read at least one book in the previous year. Not only is this a decrease from 56% in the prior year, it also means 49% – essentially half – of adults in the UK didn’t read a single book in a full 12 months.

In America, data from Pew Research Centre suggests, US citizens are reading substantially more books than their British cousins; with just 27% of Americans saying they did not read a book in 2019.

In the UK poverty levels are their highest rates in decades, while draconian changes to welfare systems have left children and their parents starving amid increasing job insecurity. UK adults from poorer backgrounds may not be reading as much as they once did due to books becoming relatively unaffordable. New paperback on average cost around £10 and in some households this can be the difference between keeping the heating on.