British adults are too busy to read, new research shows

British adults are too busy to read, new research shows

UK adults would like to read more but are being held back by their busy lives, new research from the Reading Agency has found.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned to mark World Book Night on Sunday 23rd April, found that two thirds (67%) would like to read more, but nearly half (48%) admit they are too busy to read. Whilst a hectic life is cited as the main reason for lack of reading, over a third (35%) said they struggled to find a book they really like, and a quarter (26%) revealed they would read more if they received book recommendations from someone they knew.

In response, The Reading Agency is calling on "book lovers" across the country to give a great book to someone who doesn’t read often This World Book Night, in recognition of the challenges many people face when it comes to finding the right book. The aim is to get "brilliant" books into the hands of thousands of young people and adults who haven’t yet discovered books as a companion through life’s ups and downs.

The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds (59%) of respondants said they would turn to a book in times of stress, anxiety or illness. Meanwhile, almost half of those surveyed (48%) say they would rely on a book to help navigate the ups and downs of friendships and relationships.

The poll suggests two in five of us (41%) will stretch the truth when it comes to what, or how much we've read. Men are the biggest culprits, with one in five (19%) admitting they’d lie about their reading habits in order to impress in a job interview. Other top scenarios are stretching the truth whilst on a date, when meeting the in-laws and on social media profiles.

Today’s millennials are the generation most likely to stretch the truth, with 64% of 18-24 year olds fibbing about the number of books, or the kinds of books, they’ve read. One quarter of 18-24 year olds (25%) admit to having lied about reading J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, when they have in fact just watched the film.

Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of The Reading Agency, said it was "great" to see from the research that Britains still love to read, but it was "not surprising that some people feel they are too busy to do so."

"Finding the right book can be key to getting back into the reading habit, and our research shows how influential book recommendations and book gifting can be", Wilkinson said. "So on World Book Night we are urging keen readers to give a book to someone they know who doesn’t currently read for pleasure. At The Reading Agency, we believe everything changes when we read. It’s proven that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background; that it can result in higher levels of self-esteem and improve social interaction."

She added: “Our aim for World Book Night is to get brilliant books into the hands of people, young and old, who don’t read regularly. On 23rd April we want hundreds of thousands of people across the country to pick up a good book, and discover the joy, excitement and comfort that lie waiting for them between the pages.”