The pandemic revived reading
Most of us were reading less — until 2020.
By the numbers: The average American read 20 minutes a day in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. That's up 21% from 2019, and the most since the early 2000s.
- Print books had their best sales year of the decade in 2020. Sales climbed even higher last year.
- The share of adults who report reading e-books ticked up 5 points in 2021 from two years before (to 30%), Pew Research Center found.
Why it matters: The decline of reading — especially among teens — alarms scholars. But reading’s pandemic-era renaissance offers us hope.
Case in point: I set a goal this year to read a book a week.
- I was an English major in college but have barely picked up a book since graduation.
- I'll come clean: We're in the 12th week of the year, and I've only finished 8 books. But I've learned a lot.
Five reading tips:
- Just stop: There are too many awesome books out there for you to soldier on through one that’s not delighting or helping you. Quit the second you have had your fill.
- Make it a habit: Build books into your daily routine, so you’re reading when you wake up ... or commute ... or at bedtime.
- Track yourself: I use the app Reading List to keep track of my progress, and what I'm reading next.
- Digital detox: Keep your phone out of reach when you read to eliminate temptation.
- Family time: If you have kids, read to them. If you live with a roommate or a partner, read together.
🏁 Editor's note: This article appeared first in Axios Finish Line, a new newsletter in the Axios Daily Essentials package.