Gave up after chapter 1? Average person takes 29 pages to really get into a book

NEW YORK — There are two types of people: those who enjoy reading and those who don’t. For those who love diving into a new title, it takes the average person 36 minutes and 29 pages to get lost in a book they’re reading. A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults who regularly read found the easiest book genres to lose yourself in are fantasy (49%), romance (42%), history (39%), and sci-fi (36%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the survey discovered the easiest stories to lose oneself in are those that take place during World War II (44%), the present day (42%) — defined as the 1970s to today — and the Great Depression (42%).

Nearly half (48%) have also purchased a book based on its setting alone. It doesn’t matter how realistic the setting is, however, as more than half (53%) said both fictional and realistic literary locales provide an escape. Re-reading a book doesn’t lessen its magic, either. Nearly half (48%) said new and old favorites are easy to immerse in.

However, where people read can affect their experience. Those polled are more likely to be engaged in a book at home (40%) than elsewhere. Some have an interesting choice of reading rooms. More than half (54%) of Gen Zers and over a quarter of men (26%) said they usually read books in their bathroom.

Book genre infographic

The weather outside can also play a role, as a snowy day was the perfect catalyst for immersing oneself in the “book world” (46%).

While most people usually read books at home (76%), they also take advantage of libraries (60%) and their travels (58%) to peruse their favorites. Another 58 percent even admit to reading while working.

Nearly three in four (74%) have immersed themselves in a book. Of those respondents, 63 percent imagined themselves as one of the characters, the same amount transported themselves to the book’s setting, and 58 percent could almost hear how the narrator or characters sound.

Imagining literary worlds as real isn’t just for kids, though — according to seven in 10 (72%) respondents, book immersion gets easier with age. Men were more likely to share this sentiment than women (78% vs. 68%).

“Books, like movies, often leave us feeling a certain way hours, days, and even weeks later,” says a spokesperson for ThriftBooks. “Regardless of what else is going on in our lives, it’s a journey we’re willing to take.”

Upon finishing a reading session, 30 percent of those polled described their mood as “inspiring.”

“The beauty of storytelling lies in its power to captivate readers of all ages any time, anywhere,” adds the spokesperson. “Not only does it never leave us, but according to our research, it becomes even more prominent as the years go by.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 people who read books regularly was commissioned by ThriftBooks between June 29 and July 3, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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  1. This is very true of English books and many readers feel bore and leave reading. Once you read 30 odd pages the book grapples with your curiosity and invariably presses you to go further.

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