Are Books Still Popular in 2021? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Despite the rise of audiobooks and e-books, reading hard-cover books is still an appreciated style of reading.

In recent years, reading has transformed. Where people once stood in line for book releases, times have shifted to accommodate the rise of audiobooks and e-books.

Despite a boom in digital availability of books, as well as a downturn in time spent reading, traditional hard-cover reading remains a focus in many people’s lives for its uniqueness.

Reading hard-cover books involves a type of tactical engagement that cannot be found through e-readers or audiobooks.

If you want to continue learning about what makes hard-cover reading special, why print books are still prevailing in an era of smartphones, and what style of reading is right for your lifestyle, continue reading!

Are books still popular?

Reading books is less popular nowadays, but the trend is still high. Nearly 60% of people declare to read daily.

Why are Hard-Cover Books Still Popular?

For a number of reasons, paper books remain popular, even amongst the rise of tablets, e-readers, smart phones, and TVs.

The first reason is the tactical nature of paper books that supports focused and engaged reading. You’re physically turning each page, reading each line, and incurring a feeling of emotional satisfaction when you reach the end of a passage or chapter.

An e-reader or tablet reduces the tactical nature of reading.

According to Lifehack.com, ‘When we read text using e-book devices, tablets, laptops or desktop computers we must juggle multiple distractions (hypertext, e-mails, videos, and pop-up advertisements). In addition, a simple movement like swiping a finger on the screen or readjusting the mouse leads to moving our attention away from what’s being read. These interruptions may seem minor, but they nonetheless adversely affect our comprehension, reading speed, and accuracy.”

Thus, when reading printed books, you are more likely to retain the information you’re reading, which is one of the ultimate goals of reading. Sustained focus, and comprehension of what you’re reading, is critical to learning and understanding new information.

Paper books can also act as an incredibly powerful connector of individuals and groups. Books can be the topic of shared interest, upon which people form friendships, relationships, books clubs and social gatherings.

In addition, books are still the cornerstone of schools, universities, and learning centers.

How Much Are People Reading Per Day?

Due to the rise of tech and streaming services, reading as an activity has declined substantially over the years.

According to Statistica.com, “On average, Americans aged 20 to 34 spend a mere 0.11 hours reading daily, which amounts to less than seven minutes per day. Although the time spent reading increases in the older generations, the general trend is worrying – an overall average of only 0.28 hours spent reading per day.”

This decline could be a result of the busy 21st-century life and the presence of more “enjoyable” activities like watching TV shows, movies, or listening to new music.

Another reason could be that reading requires a certain level of focus and concentration that many people do not have or do not want to expend.

Most people see a benefit in relaxing after a hard or long day, and often choose to engage in passive activities like watching TV or listening to music.

However, despite the downturned trend in daily reading habits, Statistica.com notes that “As of 2018, 74 percent of adults stated that they have read at least one book in the past year, and additionally, Americans continue to spend around 110 U.S. dollars per year on reading.”

While people may not read extensively on a daily basis, the numbers show that overall, reading is still a part of many people’s lives.

What Types of Books Are Most Popular?

The types of books that are popular are often influenced heavily by world events, trends, and celebrity. For example, the advent of the novel coronavirus outbreak in 2020 (COVID-19), greatly influenced the types of books people were reading.

As schools around the world closed for safety measures, parents became responsible for their children’s education. In turn, data showed an uptick in children’s learning and activity books in 2019 (Marketwatch.com).

In the United Kingdom, for example, 41% of people were reading more books since the UK imposed lockdown measures on March 23rd, 2020 (theguardian.com).

Overall, book sales are driven most by fiction. This may because books are great sources of entertainment that distract from less ideal real-world situations.

For example, “reading fiction can allow you to temporarily escape your own world and become swept up in the imagined experiences of the characters” and “nonfiction self-help books can teach you strategies that may help you manage symptoms” (Healthline.com).

Print Books vs. E-books: Which Is Better?

While audiobooks and e-books have been growing in popularity, the Pew Research Center reports that “Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 65% of adults saying they had read a print book in the year before the survey.”

In other words, while audiobooks and e-books may make up a large part of the way people read in the coming years, hard copy books still provide value that many people continue to appreciate.

The answer to whether you should read books digitally or the old-fashioned way boils down to your preferences.

If you enjoy reading hard-cover books, have no fear. As explored thus far, old-fashioned reading is not going out of style anytime soon and there still remains a community and desire for the activity.

Old-fashioned reading may be the best option for you if you enjoy the tactical nature of reading print books, and don’t mind carving out sections of your day to curl up with a book and highlight sentences or passages that resonate with you.

If you rely on old-fashioned reading for your relaxation, you’re in luck. It’s been shown that reading works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea.

People that may enjoy reading print books over e-books may be children, caregivers, writers, and/or the elderly.

If you’re an auditory learner, are always on the go, or are visually-impaired, audiobooks are a great way to get your reading in. A large number of people are preferring to “read” through audiobooks.

In fact, the annual rate of growth for audiobooks is even surpassing the general media and entertainment annual market growth rate, with the former clocking in at 25-30% as opposed to 4% (deloitte.com).

If you have an active lifestyle and would like reading to be a seamless step in your routine, consider e-books for their convenience.

E-books can be accessed on virtually any smart device, including a computer, phone, and/or tablet. Some other benefits of e-books include:

  • Instantly shareable content with the touch of a button
  • Interactive elements such as the ability to highlight passages, watch videos, click hyperlinks
  • Accessibility for the visually-impaired through voice-activated features
  • Brightness and visibility customization
  • Reduced cost than buying books and paying additional fees like shipping and tax

To summarize, reading (whether through print books or digitally) plays many different roles in people’s lives, all of which are significant. Despite advancements in technology that often win the competition for people’s attention, reading will always be a steadfast and sure way to reclaim your focus and attention and engage your imagination.