How the pandemic has changed American reading habits

Lifestyle | 3 Nov, 2020 |

Pre-pandemic, people often didn’t have a lot of time to read. They led busy lives, and their free time, if any, was spent on other things. Once Covid-19 hit, people were suddenly finding themselves with a lot more free time. This led to opportunities to invest in new books and spend some time reading. People didn’t just start reading more, though. According to BulkBooks, they started reading differently, as well.

Time

Commuting can take up a lot of your day and with people suddenly working from home, that time opened up for them. Or, as people’s schedules and daily activities changed, they found more time in the day they could dedicate to reading.

According to Statista.com, the percentile breakdown of different generations’ likelihood to read due to extra time is as follows (as of March 2020):

• 28% of Boomers

• 34% of Gen X

• 40% of Millennials

Content

The types of books people are reading during the pandemic have changed too. According to The Washington Post, the genres many people are seeking comfort in are:

• Dystopian

• Romance

• Self-help

• Social Justice

• Children’s activity books

As our lives seem to be falling into chaos around us, people are trying to find solace in books that can take their minds off things. Dystopian novels allow people to immerse themselves in alternate realities, and romances can sweep them up in feelings of love.

Self-help books can help those who are struggling through these troubling times, and books on social justice can help people find ways to help with the racial inequalities plaguing the United States. Finally, children’s activity books give parents some time to themselves while their children are occupied. It is also helpful for parents helping their kids learn at home.

Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar

When the pandemic struck, many brick and mortar buildings were forced to close. Online shopping had already been on the rise, but the pandemic caused even more of a shift toward online shopping rather than shopping in-store.

Amazon continued to thrive, of course, but this shift toward online book shopping allowed indie bookstores with an online presence the ability to step up as well.

Along with buying more online, borrowing e-books has increased as well. According to Fortune.com, borrowing e-books through Overdrive has significantly increased. “E-book loans have jumped 53% on average since before mid-March. Kids, or grownups checking out kids’ books, have increased their e-book reading the most, the company says. Young adult nonfiction e-book checkouts are up 122%, and juvenile fiction is up 93%.”

Increase in Re-Reading Books

While many people are finding more time to read due to Covid-19, not everyone has access or money to buy new books.

Some people also took to re-reading books because the stories were familiar. In a world where things are continually changing and fear fills our lives, it can be nice to find solace in the familiar. Re-reading a loved book helps the reader avoid any suspense or unwelcome surprises.

The pandemic has certainly changed America’s reading habits, but it remains to be seen whether it will continue once the pandemic passes.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons