Older women reading slightly more books

New figures out this week have shown that older women are bucking a trend towards reading fewer books.

Roy Morgan Research said a survey showed that women aged over 65 were reading around one per cent more novels and non-fiction books than they were back in 2010. But the results were not so good for younger groups.

While there was an increase in book reading among children aged 6-13, after the age of 14, there was a decline.

“With the exception of older Australians, reading rates have declined considerably,” Ray Morgan Research industry communications director Norman Morris said.

“The decrease among (younger) women is especially striking and raises several questions.

“Are their reading habits falling victim to other pursuits such as binge-watching streamed TV shows or surfing the web? Or are they simply more time poor than they once were?”

The research found that in 2010, 64.7 per cent of Australian women aged 15 and over read a novel in any given three months, a figure which has since fallen to 60.9 per cent.

Fewer women were reading non-fiction books than they used to, slipping from 39.2 per cent to 34.2 per cent between 2010 and 2015.

“Not surprisingly, buying books and/or eBooks is also on the wane, having dropped more from 17.7 per cent of the population making a purchase in any given four-week period to 15.8 per cent.

“Although fewer men than women read, our data shows that men tend to spend more on average ($58) when purchasing books or eBooks than women ($52): something for retailers to bear in mind when planning marketing strategies.

“In this challenging market, book/ebook retailers need to stay abreast of how Australians’ changing leisure habits may be impacting on their reading, and work to ensure that books remain an appealing, relevant and rewarding part of everyone’s lives.”

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