Real Summer Reads, or: How Reading Affects Your Sex Life

SURVEY STATSAt the approach of summer, we did a fun poll among readers. We wanted to know what books people were really reading on their summer vacations.  Like a good elementary student, I built my hypothesis:

  • Summer/beach reads tend to be lighter than regular reading
  • People read more on vacation

Wrong and wrong. Turns out that people generally make the same choices of book genres during vacation as they do during the rest of the year. Well, what about train reading? Same choice. What about nighttime reading? Same choice.  We read what we want to read.

My second assumption was based on my own preferences—I dream of leisurely reading the latest and greatest. My book club friends talk about reading at night before falling asleep or relaxing on Sundays with a good book. Conversely, my only chance to read is on vacation. As it happens, I am   very much an outlier in this sense. 99% of respondents read for pleasure, but almost 10% don’t read on vacation.  

Furthermore, 51% said they either read every week or every day for pleasure. But only half of those say they always read on vacation.The people who answered sometimes to both questions were pretty close, at 35% for pleasure 40% on vacation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paperback beat out ebooks, hardbooks and audio on vacation, with 52% of readers preferring a soft-cover title to a hefty hardcover (17%) or less-than-water-resistant ebook (29%) and audiobook (2%).

Be warned that there are ramifications for reading on vacation. 41% report that they stay up late to read. Perhaps more dangerous is the 25% who reported sitting out in the sun too long because they were engrossed in a book. Good news?  Only 11% report ignoring their significant other on vacation because of a book.

That made me wonder what  impact books have in the bedroom — so we asked. According to our survey, 7% said that reading a book in bed affects their sex life, and (thankfully) the majority says it improves their sex drive. Whew. We can all keep reading.

So what do people read on vacation? By genre: Mystery, Fantasy/Sci-Fi, were at the top, followed by Thriller and Literary Fiction.

The shocker? People have the same preferences whether they are reading for fun, reading before bedtime, or reading on vacation. This is against everything the book industry believes—that people are looking for fun beach reads in the summer. Turns out we want our fun books all the time!

In all reading situations on this poll:

  • Romance, Biographies, and True Crime were in the middle.
  • Inspirational, business, and self-help were at the bottom.

I don’t have an explanation for why this doesn’t exactly reflect the market size. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe it’s the weather — who knows!