How Many Books Does an Average Person Read?

Avid book readers devour books after books and somehow still find time to get things done throughout the day. Others struggle to balance the two and aren’t able to read as much books as they like. And then, there are people who do not read for fun (disgusting).

That made us ask the question “How many books does an average person read in a year?” This question varies from country to country. We will be looking at the United States and the United Kingdom as these are the two countries I was able to find the data for.

The United States

In the U.S., the average person reads about 14 books per year. That is pretty good considering that that is more than one book per month. The median average for the whole population is 4 books per year but to be honest, I don’t know what that really entails. Does this data include children that haven’t yet learned to read? Or also people that are unable to read because of lack of access to books? If that is so, then this number becomes meaningless.

The United Kingdom

In the U.K. the average person reads 10 books per year. That was from a survey done by YouGov in 2014. A more recent survey done in 2017 found that the average person reads 15 books per year. The data seems to be skewed based on the people surveyed. The United Kingdom is a diverse country and depending on where the surveys are done, the data will reflect the facts for that area alone. For the best possible result, the data sample needs to be larger and include multiple locations across the U.K.

books on brown wooden shelf
How many books can the average person read?

Maybe the average rose by 5 whole books in three years but that is not likely. It is a significant increase over such a short span. When the pandemic occurred, the average number of books people read increased because they were home more and had more time to read. Without a significant change like that, the average shouldn’t change that much.

So, either the U.K. reads more or less than the United States depending on what survey you would like to believe. Depending on where you live, you can use either data to get your point across!

How much can the average person read?

The average person can read about 33 books a year and a speedy reader is able to read 55 books in a year. That might sound like a lot but it is not. That is a little more than one book per week. I found that I can get through about 2 books in a week by making the most out of commuting and reading while traveling.

Billionaire Bill Gates is an avid reader and has a routine of reading an hour a day. He is said to read 50 books a year. With a consistent schedule and reading as often as possible, you two can read as much as Gates does. Or just read 20 books since that is higher than the average person in the U.S. and the U.K. Just as long as you enjoy reading whatever you are reading.

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28 thoughts on “How Many Books Does an Average Person Read?

  1. Reaseaorg says:

    Reading 10 books is an interesting fact for the U.K., I personally don’t read books, just articles etc.

    1. Ahaqir says:

      Articles are short books in my opinion lol. Some of them do read like books.

      1. Reaseaorg says:

        I was pondering that to be honest. How do you define “book” is it word count or cover to cover physical object

      2. Ahaqir says:

        I think in day and age it has changed. I’ve read long article pieces that feel like books but without the fluff which is why I feel like many articles feel like books when they are well written

      3. Reaseaorg says:

        Agreed, books can have too many words for the complexity of message 🙂

  2. romi says:

    this was an interesting read! for the past three years, i have managed to read 100+ books per year and I am still not sure how i managed it 😂

    1. Ahaqir says:

      That is amazing! I did it once and ran out of books to read afterwards 😅

      1. romi says:

        😂 that’s fine. i am studying literature. so, at this book they just keep coming at me. hope you find more books to indulge in!

      2. Ahaqir says:

        How many books have you read so far in total? I’m revisiting old books for the most part at the moment

      3. romi says:

        last i checked my Goodreads, it stands at 147 books hehe. and re-reading old books also counts! they are an absolute delight.

    1. Ahaqir says:

      Lol I’ll get to that next week. It’s pretty hard to choose books to review when I’ve done most of the ones I wanted to.

  3. Bookstooge says:

    I tend to read 100-150 a year, but that’s my hobby. I rarely watch TV or movies, so that helps a lot too.
    I keep track of pages n words read because as you noted in another comment sometimes an article can be pretty full. Plus, I read a good bit in the visual medium (Manga n comics) so need more metrics than just ‘books read’.

    1. Ahaqir says:

      That is amazing and props to you! You are welcome to write an article about how you achieve that goal on my blog if you want 🙂

      1. Bookstooge says:

        I’d like that actually. November is all scheduled up for me, but shoot me an email at bookstooge at protonmail dotcom and we set something up for december

  4. Sarah Overbooked says:

    Once I set a goal to read one book per week I actually have been reading 80-120 books in a year. Before that goal it was more like 30 books in a year though.

  5. Toni says:

    When I was a kid, I averaged 3-4 books per week. For a little while, between work and home life, I slowed down to probably more like 5 to 6 books a month. After 2020, I basically backed out of all social media and found that I had way more time to read. In 2021 I read 160 books, last year I read 183 books and this year I’m on track to read about the same. I honestly love reading and would prefer to read more than pretty much anything else.

  6. RussYoung says:

    Reading is far to important to ignore the facts .People today only read in blips .Books are to long and take to much commitment. Also books are to expensive for the average person example Obama,s book was $60.00 how many people can afford that.

  7. Leila Pitchford says:

    In 2021, I read 138 books in addition to the articles and social media I read. This was accomplished because I had my TV covered while remodeling for 6 months. I easily read more than 60 books a year in normal circumstances.

  8. Kevin says:

    “In the U.S., the average person reads about 14 books per year. That is pretty good considering that that is more than one book per month. The median average for the whole population is 4 books per year but to be honest, I don’t know what that really entails.”

    I think that means that the average of 14 is an inflated estimate of how much most people read. It is being skewed by outliers who read voraciously (one person I know set a Goodreads goal of 100 books per year- granted, she is mostly retired and only works part-time). 4 is likely the better guess of how much a random person picked off the street reads.


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