By Aaron Earls
Americans still consume books—they just do it differently now.
According to a new survey from Pew Research, about three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) have read at least one book in any format in the past 12 months.
That figure has remained relatively unchanged since 2012.
Most (67 percent) have read a print book. Fewer have read an e-book (26 percent) or listened to an audiobook (18 percent).
While readers of digital books have plateaued, audiobook listeners have grown to an all-time high.
Since 2016, there has been a modest, but statistically significant jump in the share of Americans who listen to audiobooks—from 14 percent to 18 percent.
The audiobook growth came from a wide variety of demographics.
Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of younger adults, those aged 18-29, say they’ve listened to an audiobook in the past year—up from 16 percent in 2016.
The share of college graduates jumped 7 percentage points to 27 percent. High school graduates listening to audiobooks have almost doubled since 2016, from 9 percent to 16 percent.
A similar jump happened among rural residents. In the past 12 months, the share increased from 10 percent to 17 percent.
Overall, a quarter of Americans (24 percent) say they did not read a book in the past year.
Four in 10 Americans (39 percent) say they read only print books. Three in 10 (29 percent) read both print and digital, which includes both e-books and audiobooks. Fewer (7 percent) read only digital formats.
Perhaps not surprisingly, education played the biggest role in who was a reader and who was not.
Among college graduates, 92 percent say they read a book in any format in the past 12 months. Only 4 in 10 Americans (40 percent) with less than a high school diploma say the same.
College graduates were also the education level most likely to have read an e-book (42 percent) and listened to an audiobook (27 percent).
When it comes to Bible reading, according to Lifeway Research, only 10 percent of Americans say they’ve never read the Bible.
The American Bible Society found teenagers prefer to read print Bibles.
Seven in 10 teens (70 percent) read the Bible in print, while 46 percent search the Bible on a smartphone, 35 percent use the internet, 33 percent use a Bible app, and 16 percent listen to an audio version of the Bible.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.