It's officially midsummer, yet there is only a slim chance that most adults have made significant headway on their summer reading. In this month's exclusive survey conducted for American Demographics, market research firm Bruskin/Audits & Surveys Worldwide gives us a closer look into Americans' summer reading habits. The conclusion: We actually read less in the summer than during the rest of the year.
While overall the disparity is minimal - on average Americans reads 2.6 books a month in the summertime versus 2.8 books year round - it is exaggerated among certain demographic groups. Specifically, those aged 65 and older read nearly an entire book more during fall, winter, and spring season than they do during the dog days of summer (2.8 books and 2.1 books, respectively). Similarly, adults with an annual household income under $20,000 read 2.7 books a month in the summer versus their regular 3.3 books. Geographically speaking, North Central residents have the greatest variance in seasonal reading. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the landlocked states heat up, Midwesterners allow their brains to "chill out." They read 2.6 books a month in the heat compared with three books during the rest of the year.
Surely, some people read more. Inhabitants of households with annual incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 read an extra half a book per month during the summer months than they do for the rest of the year. Additionally, adults who read a lot year round are likely to read even more during the summer. While 18 percent of those who report reading seven or more books a month on average read less than that in the summer, 46 percent of this set read 11 or more books.
So who's most likely to paste a "bookworm on board" bumper sticker to their car? College grads are 10 percent more likely to read 7-plus books a month year round, and those with a post graduate degree are 79 percent more likely. And they're probably not all textbooks. In terms of marital status, the married and never married agree that burying their nose in 7 or more books a month is not for them. On the other hand, the separated, divorced or widowed are 40 percent more likely to do so.
With all the demand, somebody has to supply. Libraries prove to be the most common remedy for the common book jones. And while, 48 percent of adults borrow books from the library, 43 percent also borrow them from friends and family. When it comes to trading in greenbacks for hardbacks, large bookstore chains win the gold. Forty-two percent of the general public shop at such stores. Yet 68 percent of those with household incomes over $75,000 do the same. Nearly 30 percent of all households prefer to shop at locally owned bookstores. The same percent admit to raiding the bargain box at a garage sale. Online retailers satisfy only 13 percent of what readers crave most.
Cozy corners at home may be the most common place to find people curled up with a novel (97 percent read at home). Twenty-two percent of Americans like to read in the park, 27 percent at a pool or the beach, and 32 percent will crack open a page-turner on a plane.
People are also toting tomes to work (23 percent). Only 3 percent of respondents revealed they read at the gym. Younger readers - those between the ages of 18 and 24 and between 25 and 34 - are more likely to take Chaucer with them on a workout (6 percent and 5 percent, respectively). And while he may not be the best spotter, he's definitely easy on the eyes.