1 in 2 young adults in UK are reading more since lockdown

Almost one in two young adults in the UK are reading more since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Rawpixel pic)

LONDON: Researchers of the Reading Agency have polled over 2,000 people across the UK about their reading habits during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The survey has shown that almost one in two young adults are reading more since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a strict lockdown across the UK in late March.

Britons have pointed out that having more time is a key factor for their new reading habits during this time in self-isolation, also citing reading as a form of release, escapism or distraction.

“It has been something I have gotten into, wanting to read on for excitement. It passes the time and I’m learning new things,” one 20-year-old female respondent told the Reading Agency.

Readers aged between 18 and 24 years old are particularly turning to non-fiction, crime and classic literature for a much-needed break during the coronavirus pandemic.

Among popular titles are “The Plague” by Albert Camus and “The Viral Storm” by Nathan D Wolfe, which have both seen an increase in their readership by over 1,300% in recent weeks.

Respondents in Northern Ireland were the most likely to say they were reading more during this time in self-isolation (39%), followed by participants in London (34%), Scotland (30%) and North East England (33%).

This survey was conducted on April 23 ahead of World Book Night, whose nationwide celebrations moved to the digital realm in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This year’s World Book Night celebrations provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the proven power of reading to connect people through reading.

“Never has this connectivity been needed more than at this anxious time of social distancing,” Debbie Hicks of the Reading Agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, physical books sales are also holding up in the United States.

NPD BookScan has recently reported that 166.9 million units have been sold through the week ending on April 11, marking just a 1.3% decline compared to the same period in 2019.

“The book market usually performs well in periods of economic downturn, so there is unlikely to be a catastrophic cliff in the consumer demand for books,” NPD BookScan’s Kristen McLean said in a statement.

Colouring books and juvenile nonfiction have particularly bolstered these numbers, as families across the US have found themselves charged with keeping their children educated and entertained during this time at home.