Trends in Book and Literary Reading

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

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
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
Trends in Reading and Publishing
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