How Many Books Do You Read in a Year?

Recently I thought it would be fun and interesting to ask this question of fellow-writers on our own dedicated Facebook group, having just learned from Goodreads that I’d reviewed or  rated 28 books this year. a-reader

I made a fascinating discovery.  Annual reading achievement varied enormously. I thought I was doing quite well at approximately 30 – and I learned via an online search that a “voracious” reader may get through 30-50 books a year but across the general population it is a very different picture: “According to a YouGov survey, the mean number of books read for pleasure by adults in the UK is around 10 each year, and the median is around 4.”

The answers I received from fellow-writers  took me by surprise: and not least, because I was humbled and impressed by how the majority of these individuals managed to fit in so much reading alongside writing their own books!

“78 – less than two books a week, which doesn’t seem very much at all to me.”

“No more than 5”.

“In 2016 I read 69 – years ago I might read up to 100 a year. One month I notched up 19 books.”

“About 36.”

“About 12.”

“49 and some other started but not finished.”

“Over 100.”

“120 last year – as at 8 January this year I’ve already read 7.”

“55 from the library alone so probably nearer 70 or 80.”

“Going back through my Kindle orders, 54 not including ones I gave up on or old books I re-read.”

“32 according to Goodreads.”

“Between 15 and 30.”

“Probably about 12-15.”

“175 last year and above 150 for each year since 2011 when I started tracking on Goodreads.”


I love to read a book which is a totally absorbing page-turner, a book which you can’t wait to get back to. It’s one of life’s greatest joys. I’ve just finished reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and I found it a real struggle to read, it’s so slow-paced and (I think) self-consciously literary. I bought it in Waterstones, attracted by the beautiful cover and the interesting blurb. I was determined to persist with it to the end because I’d spent good money on it but felt cheated of that wonderful “must get back to it as soon as possible” feeling with a good book.
When I mentioned this on Facebook, I liked this response:
Books like that become loo books, read a page or two at a time. A friend sent me a non-
fiction title I’d expressed interest in and I can only stomach it a few pages at a time. I’m only persisting because it was a gift and because there is some useful info amid the dross but it’ll get a scant two stars and the fact that I’m only reviewing as a warning to others taken in by the blurb.”
What do you think? Do you know how many books you read in a year? And what’s your view of “fast” and “slow” readers? Does it matter? and does it impact upon the quality of your response to the story, or your reviews, if you do review books (or discuss them at a book club). I’d love to have your comments!

Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

12 thoughts on “How Many Books Do You Read in a Year?

  1. At the moment, I can’t even begin to tally up the books I read in a year. I’m sure it’s far less than I used to in the days BC (Before Children), but it’s also much more scattered. I used to plow through, cover to cover, in rapid fashion (I’m a fast reader), never starting a new book before finishing the old. Now I think I have at least a dozen currently in various stages of completion, both in “real” form and on my Kindle App. So interesting to see the wide range of answers – great post!

    1. Thank you for your comment Traci – yes I too have a number of books in various stages of completion, on my kindle. I find if I start a physical book I do tend to read it all the way through before moving on to the next!

  2. I read 200 books in 2015, and 210 last year. I openly admit to ‘acceptable cheating’ for my Goodreads challenge though – my motto is that if Goodreads lists it, then it counts. So if single short stories, poems, comic issues, etc. are listed, then I add them in! 🙂

  3. I hope you meant you read 28 books in 2016 and not 28 books in the first few days of 2017. When I was commuting to London I could easily read 100 books a year. You can do a lot of reading when you spend five hours a week on a train. This year I’m aiming for 40. This is partly because I read a lot of large non-fiction books for research purposes, but also because my planned reading for the first part of the year contains a lot of very long books.

    1. Yes, 28 on the Goodreads total in 2016 but more than that because there were several I read without posting a review on Goodreads.I can imagine plenty of train travel gives you some good reading time. It also seems to be where writer get good ideas for their next books… I must do more train travel!

  4. The amount I read varies… but I set a 20 book target on Goodreads this year and I’m already nearly half way there … so maybe vibrant quite a bit then!!!

    1. That sounds good. It would be interesting, too, to find out whether people read more books if they read on an ereader, or if they read physical books. That sounds like another topic for research!

    1. Ah, that might mean you should set your target higher! But different books take varying lengths of time to read, of course, depending on whether the prose is dense or the plot more convuluted….

  5. I wonder how big those books are that people are reading so voraciously! I must admit in the last 12 months my reading has slacked off due to all my other commitments, and I do feel quite sad about that. At the moment I can average 1 book per month, occasionally 2 if I manage to read a fiction and non-fiction.

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