UK turns to crime and lifestyle books as reading time nearly doubles and tastes change

Nearly half of UK adults say they read more books during lockdown and almost doubled their total time spent reading per week from 3.5 hours to 6 hours.

Research by Nielsen Book on UK book consumer habits during the lockdown reveals that 41% of adults reported reading more books, with a third saying they read more print books, 18%
read more ebooks, and 9% listened to more audiobooks. A third of respondents also said they had increased their time spent reading books to children.

However, while, 25% said they had bought more books since the lockdown began, compared with their normal buying habits, 18% had bought fewer books, mainly due to being unable to visit bookshops.

Two-thirds of those reading books or listening to audiobooks indicated their fiction reading interests have changed since the outbreak of Covid-19, most commonly being more interested in crime/thrillers or popular fiction.

The same proportion also indicated their non-fiction book interests have changed since lockdown, most commonly being more interested in food/drink books, history, puzzle/quiz, gardening/DIY and various genres to help improve mind, body & spirit.

The survey found there is currently little appetite for dystopian fiction or fiction and non-fiction titles relating to the pandemic.

For those with children in the home and buying books for them, three-quarters indicated that the genres they were interested in buying for children have changed since lockdown, most commonly being more interested in funny stories and books to help with schoolwork.

A sixth of adults who have been reading more think they will continue this trend after the end of lockdown.


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