How many books have you bought but never read?

Another fascinating survey about how people read books has recently been released. This one questioned 2000 Brits and found that the average British home contains 138 books, but more than half of those books had never been read.

It made me wonder about the books on my shelves that have been languishing. Could I also be guilty of leaving books on my shelves, their pages unturned and their words unread? I confess that it’s true. And I bet it’s the same with you too. I wanted to know how many I had, so I added them up. There were 18 of them. I wanted to read them when I first got them, but then my interest in them must have waned. But like many people, I imagine that I will want to read them one day. It’s a bit like my dad keeping bits of timber and bits and bobs because he’s sure they’ll be useful one day.

A couple of books were given to me by friends. I know I should read them and I feel terribly guilty, but I can’t force it; I have to be in the mood to read a book. It’s probably a miracle that I only have 18 unread books on my shelves. How many do you have?

The survey results also showed that two-thirds of the respondents hung on to the unread books because they were emotionally attached to them. And I do the same. Is it because books evoke emotions as we read them? Does holding an unread book remind us that these emotions are all contained in the pages, just waiting to be experienced? You don’t want to miss out.

Over a quarter of the survey respondents said they kept their unread books because they hated throwing anything away. I certainly can’t throw a book away; I have to pass it on somewhere.

Another recent study by Quick Reads revealed these facts about British reading habits:

  • One in five adults do not read for pleasure, and men read less than women.
  • More than a third of 18–24 year olds admitted that they don’t read for pleasure.
  •  While a regular book remains the primary source of reading for 61% of adults, 15% named an e-reader, followed by a laptop (4%), a tablet (4%) and a smartphone (3%).
  • A third (33%) of adults say that when they read, they read for longer periods thanks to technology such as e-readers.
  • The over-65s are the biggest group of adopters of e-readers; nearly 20% of them nominated e-readers as their preferred means of reading, compared to only 12% of 18–24 year olds (the smallest group of e-reader adopters).
  •  41% of adults said that being able to look up words they didn’t know on an e-reader has made reading easier, while 51% said that being able to adjust the appearance of the text to suit them (making it larger and brighter and so on) has also helped.
  •  E-readers are also broadening the range of what we are reading; 62% of respondents said that being able to access free electronic books has led them to read books that they otherwise would not have read.

It’s especially interesting to see that older readers are the biggest group of adopters of e-readers. I know from our own experience of SpineOut (gr’s sister publication for young adults) that younger readers still love the paper book experience – which makes me feel positive about the future of printed books. I suspect the results would be the same if the survey were run Down Under.

I don’t own a dedicated e-reader. I have an iPad, but I find if I read with it at night that I have trouble getting to sleep afterwards. The backlight of the tablet seems to trick my brain into thinking it’s daytime. But when reading a printed book, I can get drowsy and pop off while reading! I have friends who read books on their phones, but the format just doesn’t seem to allow me to get into a book.

The Cat Out of HellI recently read Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss (author of the bestseller Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The zero tolerance approach to punctuation).
I really enjoyed it, but it makes me realise why I have a dog. So now I’m reading Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout. So far it’s a light, fun read, but it’s just what I needed after those dastardly felines in Cat Out of Hell. (Apologies to all cat lovers!)

Here’s to reading.


And Baxter, who hasn’t needed to go to the vet as yet this year. It seems miracles do happen.

PS We’ve recently released an app for gr, so if you subscribe to the digital mag, then you can download it onto your tablet or phone. If you subscribe to the online edition you can download the app for free. If you’d like to trial the magazine online, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll set you up.

app for iPad

app  for Android

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