56% of Americans admit reading a book during the summer — to look smarter

NEW YORK — Are your summer reading choices all about impressing your friends? Almost three in five Americans hope their summer reading choices will make them seem more intelligent.

In a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. respondents, 56 percent admit to reading at least one “serious” book in the summer to look smarter.

Thirty-six percent use the summer months to brush up on their knowledge of history, while two in five read more mysteries during vacation than they do at any other point of the year. More than half the poll (53%) look forward to romantic reads on their holiday break — including, surprisingly, more men than women (56% vs 37%). Men are also more likely to admit they use the summer to read books they like without fear of judgment (73% vs 62%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ThriftBooks, the study also reveals that while summer is the biggest season of reading for almost half of respondents, they’re planning to add an extra half hour of weekly reading this fall.

Two in five add they’ll base their fall reading selections on recommendations from people they know, more so than best-seller lists (33%) and even book club picks (22%).

Best unexpectedly good books

Respondents also shared examples of the best books they’ve read that they originally thought would be “fun” or “mindless,” including “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury, the “Plum” novels by Janet Evanovich, and “Desperation” by Stephen King.

Almost half of Americans (48%) are eager to read a book that has been made into a Netflix show. However, is it better to read the book first, and then watch the adaptation afterward? Eight in 10 respondents say yes, read the book first.

“It’s interesting that many of the books that became people’s favorites started out with low expectations,” says a ThriftBooks spokesperson in a statement. “Just like with human relationships, it sometimes takes a while to get to know a book beyond its first pages.”

Give me the paper copy any day of the week

Nearly half of respondents love reading actual books because of how the pages feel. Another 46 percent love seeing their progress with a bookmark while reading and 42 percent use the experience as quality time away from screens. Among the various book formats, most respondents still prefer paperbacks (51%) and hardcovers (46%) to e-readers (34%) and audiobooks (23%).

“It’s great to see the continued love and appreciation people have for physical books,” the spokesperson adds. “People still love to snuggle up with a good read; it’s a great way for them to slow down and immerse themselves in another world.”

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