A Survey of Australian Reading Habits

Photo of a man reading a book as part of the #ManReads campaign.

The following survey provides insights into contemporary preferences, behaviours and attitudes of Australians towards books and reading. The Australia Council has partnered with Macquarie University on this third and final stage of their three-year research project titled ‘The Australian Book Industry: Authors, Publishers and Readers in a Time of Change’.

Key Findings

– Australians value and enjoy reading and would like to do it more – reading books ranks higher than browsing the internet and watching television as the leisure activity Australians enjoy the most.
– Readers are mixing new digital options with conventional ways of reading.
– Australians read more than book sales alone suggest – almost as many borrow books as buy them.
– The Crime/Mystery/Thriller genre is the most widely read category and takes top spot as favourite category.
– Australians value Australian books and the Australian book industry.
– The vast majority of Australians believe that books have a value that’s greater

The report presents a summary of findings from the third stage of a major study of Australia’s changing book industry, by the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University. Findings from previous stages exploring the changing circumstances of authors and publishers are published by Macquarie University.

The Australian book industry has undergone significant disruption and transformation in recent years with the development of digital publishing, distribution and retailing; the advent of hand-held digital reading devices; the entry of new global players to book retailing; and the increasing presence of social media.

The Australia Council for the Arts partnered with Macquarie University on the final stage of the book industry study, a major survey of readers undertaken in 2016. The Australia Council supports the excellence, diversity and vitality of Australian literature and a vibrant literary culture for all Australians.

This research provides insights into contemporary preferences, attitudes and reading behaviours, and aims to help provide an evidence base for the literature sector.

See the full report here or download the PDF here.