New figures have shown that women are more likely to persevere with a bad book while men will call it day if they’re not enjoying it by page 50.
A pioneering attempt by publishers to rival Amazon’s knowledge of its ebook readers has proved what half the population already knew – that women stick with tough-read books and keep going while men are more inclined to give in a lot earlier.
It also showed that only five per cent of ebooks are finished by more than 75 per cent of readers.
The research project has been described by Arts Council England as ‘beginning to circumvent the hold that ereading platforms have had on data about reading habits’.
Amazon rarely releases data from the treasure trove it has gathered on readers using its Kindle platform.
In 2016 Kobo, a rival ereading company, released figures that suggested that an ebook reader buys almost twice as many items as they read. Monday’s report said that 60 per cent of ebooks ‘fell into a range where 25 to 50 per cent of test readers finished them’.
An earlier Kobo report found that the most-finished genre was romance which was finished by 62 per cent of readers followed closely by crime and fantasy. Only 44 per cent finished Donna Tartt’s 784-page The Goldfinch.
According to the report released on Monday, the project by the analytics company Jellybooks had great potential. It showed, for example, that heavy television users perhaps contrary to accepted wisdom did finish books.
‘Netflix binge-watchers aren’t necessarily less likely to finish reading a book,’ the report said. ‘If they are genre fans on Netflix and are reading a genre book, there is in fact a positive correlation.’
The research also suggested that genres are picked for different times of the week, so ‘literary fiction appears to be more of a weekend read’.
Sophia Woodley and Oliver Mantell, the authors of the report, said that while there were caveats with the Jellyfish research it had great potential to understand reader habits and how to get people reading more.
It would help to understand more about who reads what, when; what causes readers to ‘turn off’ from books; and how tastes in reading are correlated (or not) with tastes in culture or mass media,’ they stated.
The report concluded that overall ebook sales had peaked in 2014 and were falling while audiobooks were the ‘fastest growing part of the market (up 150 per cent between 2013 and 2017)’.
Poetry is also thriving, with a 66 per cent increase between 2013 and 2018, ‘albeit from a small base’.
It concluded that it was due to the ‘influence of the ‘Instapoets’ such as Rupi Kaur, who has more than 4 million followers on Instagram. The report said the effect was strongest among 18 to 24-year-olds who were now ‘the most avid readers of poetry in the population’, with almost one in five having read a poem in the past year.