Put Down the Phone, Pick Up a Book: Most Readers Plan to Break the Electronics Habit and Focus on Reading This Summer, New Survey Shows

Press Release

In Push for More Device-Free Time, 9-of-10 Parents Will Ask Their Children to Sign Off to Read, According to Barnes & Noble-Commissioned Independent Study

Mysteries Top Summer Wish List, Followed by History, Fantasy and Science Fiction

New York, NY – June 12, 2019 A large majority of American readers (80%) plan to put away their cell phones to focus on reading this summer, according to an independent survey of 1,500 reading adults commissioned by Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller. Of those expressing the desire to make reading a priority, many have vowed not to look at their phones for between 30 minutes and two hours during each reading session.  

The survey, conducted in early May by the market research company Atomik Research, also showed nearly 90% of parents with children between six- and 17-years old plan to ask their youngsters not to use electronic devices like cell phones and video games during certain periods of time during the summer. Of those, 44% said they want their kids to be device-free for more than three hours; 21% would be happy if their kids were off phones and videos for one-to-two hours a day.

“Parents have high hopes for themselves and their kids when it comes to reading habits this summer,” said Tim Mantel, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer for Barnes & Noble. “The desire to impose device-free time on themselves and their children was very strong among survey respondents, an indication of the importance of reading across generations.”

In fact, 61% of parents surveyed said summer reading is very important to their families, and 70% said summer reading for their kids is just as important as reading during the school year. In a sign that reading is a shared activity in many households, 69% of parents said their families read together during the summer, with more than half of parents (55%) planning to read the same books as their children this summer so they can have a bonding experience.

Parents also have high expectations of the number of books their children should read this summer, compared with the broader sample.  Of the 1,500 readers surveyed, 38% hope to read one to three books this summer, while 37% hope to read four to six books. Among parents, 35% want their child/children to read four to six books this summer, 26% want them to read 10 or more books, and 25% want them to read one to three books.

What (and How) Will They Be Reading?

Among the full sample of readers, 48% said they plan to read books in the mystery genre this summer, 37% in the history genre, 34% in the fantasy genre and 33% in the science fiction genre. Fifteen percent of summer readers said they plan to join a book club this summer, with seven percent saying they are already in a book club.

Sixty-nine percent of summer readers said they will most often read a print book. Nearly a quarter (24%) of summer readers will most often read a book on an electronic device, while seven percent will listen to an audiobook. Of those reading or listening on a device, 34% will use an e-Reader, 34% will use a cell phone and 32% will use a tablet.

In Storytelling, Books Win the Day

The survey also found that when it comes to storytelling, books are favored over movies and television programs hands down. Respondents said that when a television show or movie is based on a book, more than three-quarters (77%) of both summer readers and parents say the book is usually better than television show or movie.

"Even with the amazing technology in modern film-making and the broad variety of television programming, respondents still enjoy the reading experience more in terms of storytelling," Mr. Mantel said.  "The idea of curling up with a good book never loses its appeal."

Research Methodology:

Barnes & Noble commissioned Atomik Research to conduct an online survey of 1,502 adults in the United States who plan to read a book this summer. The sample included 1,001 respondents who are the parents of school-aged children between 6 and 17 years old. The margin of error fell within +/- 3 percentage points, with a confidence interval of 95%. The fieldwork took place from May 7-9, 2019.  Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.

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About Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is the world’s largest retail bookseller, and a leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products.  The Company operates 627 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com).  The Nook Digital business offers a lineup of popular NOOK® tablets and eReaders and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store®. The NOOK Store (www.nook.com) features digital books, periodicals and comics, and offers the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through Free NOOK Reading Apps available for Android, iOS® and Windows®.

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained by visiting the Company's corporate website at www.barnesandnobleinc.com.

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