Many reading studies have investigated how much money readers spend a year on books, where they buy them, the format of the selected tomes, and how much time we are—or are not—dedicating to the important activity of reading.
All of these have been interesting in their own right, but what I’m quite interested in is the place in time as well as the time in which we read, which, in reviewing the data, time and time again was surprising—even for these times.
The Cozy Scholar surveyed 1,873 people about their reading habits and preferences: from their favorite time of day to read to what they prefer to drink while reading. Key findings are immediately below followed by further exposition and illustrations.
❄️Our season of reading is the Winter. 40.85% of us love to read in the Winter.
📅We read on the weekends. 63.46% of us prefer to read on Sundays.
🦉When it’s dark outside, books enlighten us. 58.77% of us enjoy reading at night.
❗Central Perk? Only 4.81% of us actually read in coffee shops.
🛌🏼The bed: it’s where we turn on—our imagination. 65.21% of us prefer reading in bed.
🛀🏿Bathe your mind and your body. 6.39% enviously indulge in a bubbly reading session in the bath.
☕We’re drinking coffee with our books. 44.02% of us drink coffee while reading.
🥂Some readers really know how to live. 3.66% enjoy champagne while reading. Well done!
✈️We read on the fly. 37.05% of us read when we’re on an airplane & our next favorite place to read is the car (33.08%).
🌍When we explore new lands, we take books on our adventures. 76.62% of us read when we travel.
🆗Yep. 41.89% of us prefer to carry our books in a backpack or simply by hand (20.15%).
40.85% Enjoy Reading in Winter. Only 19% of Us Want to Read in the Fall!
Prior to this study I always thought Fall was everyone’s favorite time of year to read. How wrong I was!
It’s clear that we overwhelmingly love to read during the Winter and that our next favorite season to read is during the Summer – which makes sense as everyone is going to their favorite beach with a book in hand. While I suspected this second point to be true anecdotally, it’s great to have some data bear this out as well.
63.46% of Us Prefer to Read on Sundays and 58.11% Prefer to Read on Saturdays. We Don’t Read Much at All During the Week!
While we do a little bit of reading throughout the week, reading is overwhelmingly a Saturday and Sunday activity.
Some of us are definitely winding down a busy week with a book on Friday night where there is roughly a 5% increase in the amount of reading done compared to the other days of the week. The exception here is Wednesday. On Wednesday there is a small spike in reading; perhaps we like to take a break from a busy and potentially stressful Monday and Tuesday (ie, second Monday) and kick back and relax mid-week with our favorite current read.
58.77% of Us Enjoy Reading at Night. Only 13.16% Read in the Morning.
If you prefer reading at night you’re not alone.
While most of us are probably working during the day or out and about on weekends, it seems we all enjoy reading at night when our minds are perhaps calm and the bustle of the day has receded.
When I was in graduate school I used to start out most mornings reading because we had such large reading lists to get through. Additionally, a lot of great scholars suggested that reading books was a part of their morning routines.
The truth for me however was I much preferred to be writing in the morning (and writing at night really). But when I wanted to read for relaxation (instead of scholarly labor) I preferred that activity in the evening.
Only 4.81% of Us Actually Read in Coffee Shops. 76.35% Love to Read at Home and 7.37% Prefer to Read at the Beach.
We asked if people preferred to read at home, the beach, coffee shop, a park (picnic in Hyde Park with a book anyone?), library, and even in the mountains.
I would have bet everything I own on coffee shops.
After all, isn’t that what all the popular depictions of people reading are?
Now, I do read in a coffee shop every now and again. There is something stimulating about going out and reading in public where some light jazz music is playing or there is the welcome noise of hustle and bustle as people come in and order their java.
I much prefer to read at home. So, too, do most people!
65.21% of Us Prefer Reading in Bed.
Out of all the discoveries regarding our reading habits, I think this is the most interesting one. I thought I was a weirdo because I really enjoy reading in bed. Sure, if a couch is nearby sometimes I will read there, or maybe on a chair once in a while (sadly this gets to be uncomfortable after a bit).
But for me, there is no better place to read than in bed.
As it turns out, most of us love to read in bed as well!
There are a few Epicureans who are reading in the bathtub or by the fireplace. While we are still digging through the findings regarding the relationship between genres and reading preferences, an initial review suggests these people are likely to be reading a Romance novel in the bath or a Mystery/Thriller by the fireplace, which seems apposite.
All this is to say, if you are tired of reading in bed or on the couch, perhaps the next time you settle in to read–draw a warm bath first.
44.02% of Us Drink Coffee While Reading. 9.45% Enjoy a Cocktail & 3.66% Enjoy Champagne!
There were two surprises here. While it is not a surprise that the majority of us love coffee and tea as our favorite reading beverages, what is really shocking here is how popular soda is! Downing an extra-fizzy beverage must pair well with making a book’s plot pop.
An equally interesting discovery is that people are also enjoying cocktails, beer, and whiskey along with their Romances, Mysteries, and Science Fiction novels. So perhaps if you’ve hit a dry spot in your current novel, enjoy a boozy reading session to breeze through the pages.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that some people are actually drinking champagne while reading! It goes without saying we should all aspire to the opulent 3% of bibliophiles who are imbibing bubbly during their decadent reading sessions.
76.62% Will Read When Traveling. We Love to Explore with our Books!
I have a confession: I don’t like to read while traveling.
If I do any sort of creative activity, it will be writing but most of the time I don’t want to even do that. I’d rather just let life wash over me–if not dissolve me entirely in the majesty of wonder that we so often find in unfamiliar lands.
Thankfully, unlike me many of us really love to take a book with us when we travel. And it makes a lot of sense.
If you are going to be on a plane, or waiting in the airport, instead of scrolling through your Twitter or Instagram feed and draining battery life why not resume the learning adventure?
And what better time to go on an adventure with your imagination than when you are exploring in the bright and vibrant world of Actuality!
We’re Incredibly Mobile and We Like to Take Our Books with Us. 37.05% of Us Read When We’re on an Airplane & Our Next Favorite Place to Read is the Car 33.08%
As a nation we are incredibly mobile – travelling by car, train, airplane, etc. The two most common places for us to enjoy a novel while on the move are either on the plane (37.05%) or in the car (33.08%). While the survey didn’t specifically ask about audiobooks, I can at least confidently speculate that while in the car we are likely listening to audiobooks, and at least some percentage is taking audiobooks on the plane as well.
Having lived in Britain and Europe, I thought more people would have been reading on the train (I’m looking at the East Coast here), but it if you are commuting from Connecticut or Pennsylvania you are probably preparing for a hard day at the office or decompressing from one. Too, having spent some time in Seattle (where bus rides can stretch from downtown to Mercer Island and out into the more distant neighborhoods), I mistakenly thought reading on the bus would have featured more prominently.
41.89% of Us Prefer to Carry Our Books in a Backpack or Simply by Hand (20.15%)
We have an incredible variety of options when it comes to carrying our books around with us with ranges between utility and personal fashion statements.
But for whatever reason the two simplest options for transporting our beloved biblia have remained the most popular throughout our lifetimes: carrying books by hand and carrying them in a backpack.
I found this to be really shocking as the number of purses and messenger bags and briefcases I see people with seems to easily eclipse the number of backpacks I see. While it is true I don’t always see a well-thumbed novel sticking out of them, as someone who has used public transportation a significant deal in the past decade, I always hoped one was safely stowed out of sight. Alas!
Too, I thought the totebag would have been more of a popular option for carrying books. I suspect the totebag gets used during summer beach reading sessions. Otherwise during the normal hustle and bustle you might as well use your purse or backpack which can already carry all of your normal personal items.
Studying reading habits is a thrilling endeavor because it offers a glimpse into a celebrated and potent activity: the transmission of knowledge (or entertainment) at its most intimate, with one mind communicating to another–often across the boundaries of life and death.
Where we choose to engage in this dialogue, when we elect to participate in this communication, and how and with what accouterments we choose to join these minds across geographic and temporal horizons I believe is a worthy excursion–and I hope this study has created an occasion for you to dwell on your own habits and rituals.
Did anything here surprise you?
What are your reading habits? Are they different from the broader trends above or compared with your friends or family?
Leave a comment below!