Do College Students Read?

By BNC Marketing

With college back in session, we can welcome the bemoaning of college students nationwide on social media – students now encumbered with their: back-to-back-to-back class schedules, unending assignments and group projects, non-stop social lives, and their numerous, heavily marked-up textbook collection.

It’s surely busy here, but we wanted to take a moment to see if students were putting down their textbooks for just a second, and picking up a book for pleasure.

So we went to our panel of students to ask: “do you read for fun?”  Here are some of the results:


YES! There are a fair amount of students who do read for pleasure during the school year. In fact…

  • Around 65% of students read between 1 and 5 hours each week.
  • 13% of students are reading more than 6 hours each week.
  • However, nearly 1 in 4 (22%) of students do not read at all for pleasure during the school year.

So, what about during their winter and summer breaks. Are students reading more in those, perhaps, less demanding times?

The answer is… also YES!

  • Just 10% claim to never read during their winter and summer breaks. A 50% drop!
  • During their breaks, about 50% of students read for 1-5 hours each week.
  • And on the high-end, perhaps, 40% of students claim to read 6 hours or more each week.


In textbooks, we see some dissonance between preference for print and digital. With reading for pleasure, though, there’s no clearer picture:



Lastly, we asked students about what they were reading (just to make sure no one was secretly reading textbooks for pleasure).

Apparently, students want to escape. Fiction genres outpace non-fiction across all grades and ages, with Fantasy (53%) and Science Fiction (48%) ranking as the most popular genres among today’s college students. It’s interesting to note, though, that subject-based non-fiction, biography, and auto-biography are preferred genres for more than 20% of college students.

favorite genres bar chart

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