May 132021

One of the things I’ve been doing during the year of the pandemic is reading – a lot more than ever before in my life. Considering my interest in generational differences, the BookBaby article that appeared in my email about the reading trends by different generations grabbed my attention.

I guess it’s not surprising that the Silent Generation, also called Traditionalists (ages 76 and older), spends the most time reading each day. Traditionalists prefer mystery or suspense fiction and biography or memoir non-fiction.

As a Baby Boomer, I also wasn’t surprised to learn that other Baby Boomers (ages 56 to 75) rely on best seller lists to find their books. I’ve been perusing best seller lists and book club selections all year when determining what to read. Baby Boomers are most likely to read a thriller or for non-fiction they will read about cooking.

Generation X (ages 41 to 55) reads more online news than other generations. Again, that doesn’t surprise me. They are the first generation to embrace the Internet. They read across all genres and don’t show a preference for a particular fiction category. In non-fiction they prefer crafts and hobbies.

The fact that Millennials (ages 25 to 40) read more books than other generations did surprise me when I first read it, although we know this generation values learning and perhaps that’s the reason they are reading so much. Millennials are also most likely to visit a library. Their reading preferences are general adult fiction or the health/fitness/wellness category in non-fiction.

Generation Z (those under 25) prefers fantasy to other genres. While we are still learning the trends for this younger generation, the fact that they have been growing up in a totally digital world and have spent their days in video game fantasyland could be part of the reason for this interest. For non-fiction they prefer humor. I personally find that quite interesting. Is it because they don’t take life too seriously or because they don’t want to face reality? Or maybe there is no real serious implication in this.

All generations prefer physical books which may seem surprising when you see how many people are reading on tablets and listening to audio books. Gen X is more likely to be reading on a tablet than any other generation and Traditionalists are least likely to be reading an ebook. The older generation also doesn’t care for audio books as only 9% have listened to one in the past year.

While there are some things we all have in common such as all generations like to read, some things are very different, like what we read and how we read it. It is always good to try to understand those in different generations and what is important to them.

For the details behind these numbers and many other interesting facts about generations and reading habits, click on this link:


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