Are there any recent (last 3-4 years) surveys of American reading habits?
December 14, 2011 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Can you point me to recent surveys of reading habits in the United States? I'm hoping to find statistics from the last 3-4 years about anything from the average number of books read, time spent reading, digital reading, to whatever else you know about.

I've found the 2007 NEA report To Read or Not To Read and a 2007 Associated Press survey that gets cited a lot in my Google searches, but I'm hoping there's something more up-to-date out there.

I'd also really appreciate anyone who can point me to some data about digital literacy -- how much time Americans (especially students) spend online, how much estimated reading occurs online, and the like. Most of what I can find is from the pre-Facebook, smartphone, and ereader eras which I suspect have had a significant influence on digital reading habits. Has anyone done a study recently that addresses this?

Thanks for all your help!
posted by lilac girl to Education (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's an American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that has a bunch of this information, although it's mostly concerned with things related to employment. But it includes things like time spent online versus time spent reading for different age groups. The version I linked is from 2010.
posted by sparrow89 at 10:47 PM on December 14, 2011

You might try contacting the authors of Reading Matters (2005) and seeing if the authors have come across more recent studies on the subject.
posted by lirael2008 at 12:19 AM on December 15, 2011

The Book Industry Study Group does these surveys every year. The full report must be purchased but there's a summary on their site and industry trade publications like PW, Pub Lunch and Shelf Awareness do write-ups when the reports come out.
On mobile, or I'd link but I know they're googleable.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:30 AM on December 15, 2011

Have you tried searching your library's databases for recent journal articles? I just searched ERIC for "digital literacy" and it came back with over 1,000 articles. Lots of other subject headings and databases to try - that might be quickest.

I would also try searching the articles at Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal (may need to access copies of the last 2 w/the help of a library). OCLC sometimes captures this sort of info as part of their general reasearch into library services, ie: Libraries at Webscale.
posted by hms71 at 6:44 AM on December 15, 2011

The NEA published a report titled Reading on the Rise (opens to a pdf). Its basic findings are that downward trends in reading are reversing for the first time in decades, especially among young people.
posted by TrarNoir at 5:03 PM on December 15, 2011

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