These days, Americans are finding more ways to fill their time, turning the many hours at home into an opportunity to take up a new hobby or do more of what they love. Amidst the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, these new routines can offer a sense of comfort. Amongst hobbies–old and new–that could occupy the time, reading stands out as a perennial classic. CivicScience asked more than 25,000 U.S. adults about their reading habits in the last month. 

Eighty-six percent of respondents in the last month report that books are important to them. And of those who read books, the majority (70%) prefer to read them printed. Within that group, 39% prefer their print books to be new.  

Despite the many lifestyle changes that have taken place in the last month, interest in books has held fairly consistent. While there was slight fluctuation among book formats in March, overall ownership of eReaders has hardly changed not only in the last few months but also the last year.

Digital Lending May Not Be Trending

While borrowing physical books from the local library may not be an option, digital lending systems are still in place. That said, the data show that usage of library digital lending systems has largely remained the same. Given the fact that just 25% of U.S. adults prefer their books in a digital format, it seems that this may be one trend that isn’t catching on, even amidst the current health crisis.

On the whole, books are an important part of many Americans’ lives, with an overwhelming majority indicating as much. However, current interest in books has not yet seen a major change since the coronavirus outbreak. And although book lovers are staying home more, they may be turning to other activities, such as watching TV, to pass the time.