Put down your phone for World Book Day!

Reading beats social media, TV and sport as the most relaxing and guilt-free way to spend leisure time.

This World Book Day, March 2nd, sees the release of Ireland’s largest contemporary review of reading habits. Irish bookseller Dubray surveyed over 800 people to learn more about their attitudes and habits when it comes to reading and how they have changed in recent years.

Bookseller Dubray was keen to understand how people like to spend their precious free time, and how books measured up to other means of entertainment – and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

The survey revealed that reading is an entirely guilt free process, with 0% feeling it was a waste of time, and that it is the best way to unwind, with 52% of people feeling more relaxed after reading. 25% say they put down their book in a better mood, and 14% feel better informed.

Social media is the big rival for readers’ time, with 41% of respondents saying that it keeps them from their books.

However, a staggering 61% of respondents said that after an hour on social media they felt guilty that they had been wasting their time. Only 1% said that they found time on social media relaxing. Interestingly 17% of respondents said that they felt better informed after an hour of social media, possibly reflecting the increased use of Twitter and Facebook as sources of news.

Of the other pastimes, Sport ranked well in the guilt-free stakes, with only 1% feeling it wasn’t a good use of their time and 19% finding it relaxing. 19% also found TV relaxing, but with a higher guilt-ratio, also of 19%.

Time spent reading had increased for more readers than not over the last year, which is reflected in the 9% increase in book volume sales reported by Nielsen in 2016. Book clubs, discovering new genres, and a conscious attempt to avoid the distraction of the smartphone were among the most popular motivators. Interestingly several readers cited ill health or depression as a reason for more reading, reflecting the importance of reading for solace and distraction. Of those who were reading less, work, study, children and social media were the most frequently cited reasons.

Dubray MD Maria Dickenson said, “As booksellers we know better than most the benefits of burying yourself in a good book, but with this survey we are delighted to be able to prove them! Books are the best way to relax and unwind, and this World Book Day we invite people to put down their phones and indulge in that guilt-free pleasure”.

Other findings of interest in The Dubray Book Report include:

  • Bookshops are places of great temptation: 46% of respondents say that they always leave a bookshop with the book they wanted – and a few more!
  • The frequency of reading: 84% of readers pick up a book every day. 43% read ‘whenever I can’ and 37% in bed before going to sleep.
  • The influence of family on reading habits: 73% of respondents were inspired to read by parents.
  • The importance of friends: Recommendations by friends beat newspaper reviews, author interviews, book awards and social media as the primary influence over reading choices.

Dubray is a family owned chain of eight bookshops, known for its recommendations and range. Founded in Bray in 1973, it has stores in Grafton St, Galway, Kilkenny, and across South Dublin.

World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.  A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.