OK, admit it, who doesn't read books?

I read the Mail on Sunday (sorry, but I do) and it had an amazing statistic in it. The average Briton will read 533 books in their lifetime.
I'll repeat that. The average Briton will read 533 books in their lifetime.
OK, I thought, that's not too bad......
Then I thought again. Hang on, said my little inner bibliophile, you read an estimated 1 book every two weeks (not counting school holidays and cold winter days when the best thing to do is to snuggle under a duvet with Jane Austen). That's 25 books a year. That's 250 books in ten years and your lifetime average in 20......

And if I assume that my reading career started at 12 (when a book a week was slow) then I could have chalked up my first 500 in the ten years before I hit my working life and a career intervened...

But hang on a cotton picking minute, are they counting childrens books as well, I wondered. In which case I probably covered my 500 before I left primary school.

And do they include text books?

So I paused long enough to make a pot of tea and get a piece of paper (I work better digitally; that is, using my fingers rather than a calculator) and I began to add.

Assuming that childrens books do count, let's estimate a generous 200 for my years to 12.

500 for my adolescence and time as an English Student (course notes read; be aware this course will include some reading and should not be entered into lightly. For four years I only had to have a book in my hand to be working. Whoopee)

Let's start being really generous here and say I only read a book a fortnight, with ten per cent extra allowed at the end for errors, then that's 20 years worth making 500 plus 50 (that's the ten percent)

Now we're into prediction. Let's roll with the Bible, three score years and ten or may hap four score. OK (apart from the idea that I am actually in the middle of my God-prescribed life span which will freak me out if I think about it. Oh, Lordy, I am Middle Aged. *shudder*) That gives me somewhere between thirty and forty years reading left. At 250 every ten years plus the ten percent error, that's somewhere between 800 and 1100 books left to read.

In my lifetime, my estimate of books that I may possibly read is (pause to remove socks and count toes)..........

2,300 books. And I think I own every one of them already.

So, own up, which 4 of you never read to balance this figure?

Or am I looking in the wrong place?

And is now a good time to remind everyone that Edward VIII once asserted that the only book he ever tried to read was Treasure Island, and he didn't finish that because it was boring. So, not only a council estate problem then.


  1. Haha! That was very interesting and funny! You're reading a little more than I am (I'd say I get a book a month in) but I'd still be on the high side according to the article. So, some other Edward VIII will have to chime in to balance us out. Love your collection of books! ;-)

  2. Very interesting post. I am certainly not one of them. I'm like you never seen without a book in my hand, it make me panic if I don't have one on the go and with no kids and a train commute I probably get through a couple of week depending on size and on holiday it can be more than one a day.

    On the other hand I'm the only one in my family. Three sets of aunts and uncles and their kids, my Brother, G, my Mum. None of them read like I do. So they probably balance out my statistc!

    I can't imagine life without books. What an awful place it would be.

  3. I used to read a book a fortnight, but I'm a little slower now that the interweb is around!
    I'll have to post pics of my bookcases. They're rather full, and as there's no room for any more, I also have books stashed in other places around the house. And that's AFTER getting rid of about 200 books!

  4. A bit of a sad statistic really isn't it. I would be, like a lot of us I suspect, way way above that figure. I've read more or less constantly since I can remember - it was only when the children were small that my reading tailed off a little due to lack of time - but it's working it's way back to full capacity again. Incidentally, I didn't find my early years in council housing had any detrimental effect on my reading abilities either!

  5. We have books everywhere Read at least one a week sometimes more. Sarah keeps them in her wardrobe and clothes well... on the floor of course

  6. Other than the year after having each child, when I don't think I could have focussed on a book I was so tired, I absolutely devour books. Add in the ones we read to/with our little ones and I bet the number goes waaaay up.

  7. Love to read, get through about a book a week depending on how early the children get me up and therefore how quickly my eyes close once I get into bed! When we are on holiday I usually get throug about a dozen books,not during the day but we don't go out much in the evening so my lucky husband doesn't even have to talk to me as I have my nose buried in a book all evening.

  8. That's my hubby. He averages about 2 books a year. Hopeless.

  9. hehehehe I know I've passed that number many years ago - I mean I must own nearly as many books as they think the average person reads in a lifetime... I think my parents possibly balance me and my sister's reading habits though 'cos they never read!

  10. I love to read. I read anything and everything (within reason! ha). I start to panic if my "to read" list of books sitting on the side table gets below 8. I just don't understand people who don't love to read. My husband is one of those people. He'll read a technical manual for work but hates to read for pleasure. Can you imagine??? lol

  11. Well thats just sad that people don't read. It is one of life's greatest pleasures!

    Hi, I found your blog by clicking on users who also like The Puppini Sisters, then saw we have many similar likes! I Loved Jane Eyre, and Gone with the Wind. Have you read Push not the River?

  12. MoS statistics are totally wrong, surely, tell me they are wrong? I read probably two a week and when I was a kid reading all my pony books it was much, much more, sometimes one a day. Oh dear but maybe I am to blame for the stats because I hardly read at all when the children were babies and toddlers, it was too hard only getting to read a paragraph at a time.

  13. I think I have twice that 'average' number here right now! I used to work for a publisher & was told that one survey found that 20% of UK homes have 5 'books' or less and in the survey they counted phone books, magazines and the TV guide as a book - that's who's bringing down the average :-(


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