Around 27% of people fear reading could become a “forgotten pleasure” according to new research commissioned to mark the 10th anniversary of Galaxy Quick Reads.
The research, conducted by Dr Josie Billington of The University of Liverpool, revealed that 27% of those surveyed have been inspired to make a positive change in their lives from reading, such as look for a new job or end a bad relationship, while a fifth have been motivated to take better care of their health by reading a book.
The research has found that while a number of the population would like to read more, 35% said they are often distracted from reading by their phone or watching TV.
Billington said: “35% of respondents in our research reported that they would like to spend more time reading, but cite using their phones or watching television as frequent distractions: no wonder there is concern that reading is at risk of becoming a forgotten pleasure."
The research also revealed that over a third (38%) of people choose reading as their ultimate stress remedy and 41% of adults said they find reading to be a better cure for their everyday worries than a night out with friends.
A third (31%) of the nation have said that reading has made them realise they are "happy with what they have" and a fifth of the population have revealed that they find books show that "people are allowed to be flawed" with literary characters such as Bridget Jones, Harry Potter and Bilbo Baggins named as those people most identify with.
Billington said the research makes "abundantly clear" that reading is positive for society.
“The positive effects that reading can have on society are widely documented and what has been made abundantly clear by this research is that books can help us to enjoy the little things in life, and be happier in ourselves; a useful and time reminder for all of us to draw on the many benefits that only reading can deliver,” she said.
Authors including Jojo Moyes, Andy McNab, Ann Cleeves and Sophie Hannah are encouraging people to pick up a book to mark the 10th anniversary of Quick Reads, a programme that produces short books by well-known authors for busy people and less confident readers.
McNab said: “Every time you read a book you get a bit of knowledge, every time you get a bit of knowledge you get a bit more power. I have struggled with and overcome challenges with literacy in my life and experienced first hand the transformational power of books. I urge anyone who does not read for pleasure to pick up a book and reap the rewards of reading.”
The Galaxy Quick Reads are bite-sized books written by best-selling authors which cost only £1, available from bookshops, supermarkets and online or can be borrowed from libraries across the country.
Baroness Gail Rebuck, DBE, who founded Quick Reads in 2006, said: “I consider reading to not only be one of life’s greatest pleasures but also a source of empowerment and enrichment. Books can change people’s lives.
“I hope that the benefits highlighted in this report will encourage the one in three adults who never pick up a book to consider reading for pleasure and we hope that this report will encourage everyone to pick up a book and discover that a little bit of what you enjoy can go a long way.”
Six new books have been added to the Quick Reads series: The Double Clue: Poirot Short Stories by Agatha Christie, Too Good to be True by Ann Cleeves, A Baby at the Beach Café by Lucy Diamond, The Anniversary: Ten Tempting Stories from Ten Bestselling Authors edited by Veronica Henry, On the Rock by Andy McNab and I am Malala (An Abridged Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb.