According to the latest research carried out by DJS Research on behalf of Booktrust has found a divide in the UK between readers and non-readers, linked to wellbeing and deprivation. The figures suggest that a significant number of adults in the UK have negative attitudes towards reading – despite the fact that people who regularly pick up a book are, on average, more satisfied with life.
The research findings were presented at Booktrust’s ‘Reading Changes Lives’ conference – attended by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman, former education secretary, Alan Johnson MP and Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association among others. Alasdair Gleed, the project’s lead researcher and the director who delivered the results to the conference attendees, had the following to say:
“This was a fascinating project to work on, and the amount of debate which the findings have created – both from the panel at the conference, and on news sites and social media for instance – shows that this is certainly something on which people have an opinion. I’m very pleased to have been able to work with Booktrust on this piece of research and hope to continue to contribute to their evidence base in the future.”
Among the 1500 adult respondents to the survey, almost a fifth (18%) said they never read physical books, with almost three quarters (71%) saying they never read e-books. More than a third (36%) often start a book and get bored, whilst 35% said they cannot find the time.
More than half of respondents (56%) felt that the internet would replace books within the next twenty years – a figure which rises to almost two thirds (64%) among 18-30 year olds. Almost half of respondents (45%) said that they prefer Television and DVDs to reading.
However, the findings were not all negative – with substantial numbers saying that reading improved their lives and that it made them feel good (76%), with half (49%) saying they enjoy reading books very much. Positively, the average number of books owned by the average respondent was 200, with more than half owing more than fifty.
Three quarters of people preferred to read physical books (76%) whilst one in ten preferred to read e-books, such as Amazon’s Kindle for instance.
The research also suggested a link between reading, wellbeing and deprivation. More frequent book readers generally lived in areas of lower deprivation and with fewer children living in poverty, whilst those who read less were more likely to live in areas of higher deprivation with increased levels of child poverty. This trend also followed in terms of the average member of a socio-economic group – with 62% of ABs reading daily or weekly, compared to only 42% of DE respondents. However, the report did note that further research would be necessary to identify the causality behind these figures.
Across all respondent age groups, women are likely to read more frequently than men – and females also tend to be more positive about books.
Danny Sims, Managing Director at DJS Research Ltd, had the following to say:
“We have worked with Booktrust for a while now and the research we carry out for them is always interesting and has real value. To have been able to present this at the ‘Reading Changes Lives’ conference 2014, and for our research to feature so prominently in the national press, is a real highlight for DJS – well done to everyone involved in the project.”
The full research findings can be accessed from Booktrust’s website in PDF format here: DJS Research Ltd Report. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to Alasdair Gleed about the research findings in more detail, you can contact him via email at
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