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Trends in Book and Literary Reading

The percentage of adult Americans reading literature has dropped dramatically over the past 20 years. “Literature” includes novels, short stories, plays, and poetry but not works of nonfiction.

 U.S. adult populationRate of decline
1992–2002
 198219922002
Number of literary readers (in millions)96 100 96  
Percentage reading literature56.9%54.0%46.7%–14%
Percentage reading any bookn.a.60.956.6–7 
Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, June 2004.

Trends in Reading and PublishingFamily Reading, 1993–2001