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Americans are still reading, but they're spreading their book consumption habits over an array of formats, according to a new Pew Research survey.

Expand chart
Reproduced from a Pew Research Center report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: Book consumption by volume has remained relatively unchanged over the past five years, while consumption of digital and social media consumption has skyrocketed.

Why books are still addicting: "The order of the words are fixed on the page or on the screen, but the speed at which you read them is entirely up to you," writes Will Sehwalbe in A Resource for the Ambitious, from The Wall Street Journal. "Sure, this allows you to skip ahead and jump around, but it also allows you to slow down, savor and ponder."

  • "About three-quarters (74%) of Americans have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that's remained largely unchanged since 2012."
  • "Overall, Americans read an average (mean) of 12 books per year, while the typical (median) American has read four books in the past 12 months. Each of these figures is largely unchanged since 2011."
  • "There has been a modest but statistically significant increase in the share of Americans who read audiobooks, from 14% to 18% ... (But) It remains the case that relatively few Americans consume digital books (which include audiobooks and e-books) to the exclusion of print."

Go deeper: Every top New York Times best-seller this year has been about Trump, via CNN's Brian Stelter.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.