Research shows Aussies not reading enough

Have you read a good book lately? Chances are, you haven’t.

Recent research by Lonergan Research, commissioned by Audible Australia, has found that Aussies are not reading as much as they should.

Life distractions take their toll, with two-thirds of Australians (66%) admitting they’re simply too busy and don’t have the time. An estimated two and a half million Australians haven’t read a book in over three years.

The reasons are varied: Three in five (60%) admit various time pressures lead to not having enough time to read for leisure, nor read as often as they would like. Family commitments are the second highest reason (20%), followed by work commitments (19%) and social media (17%).

Literacy skills may also be an issue for some. Literacy is measured through a test which rates results on a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being the lowest measurable level of literacy and 5 being the most proficient. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ most recent figures (2011-12), around 3.7% of Australians aged 15 to 74 years had literacy skills below Level 1. A further 78% ranked Level 3 or lower.

In an effort to sound more intelligent however, it seems we’re not so averse to inventing a little fiction ourselves. One third (35%) of Aussies claim they would lie about reading a book, with the main reason given by these potential book-bluffers being to improve self-image (42%), to appear more educated (20%) and to impress someone else (19%).

Fantasy, Historical Drama and Self-help top the lie list of Audible Australia’s research: The top two titles people say they would lie about reading are the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy in equal place, closely followed by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People rounding out the top five.

It is okay to feel guilty though. In fact, you should, you little liar! Over half the nation (60%) wishes they had read at least one book from a list of some of the most popular titles. Of those people, three-quarters (73%) wish they had read ‘the classics’ and half (50%) wish they’d read books from the high school curriculum.

The Top 5 books on the nation’s reading wish list: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (24%) tops the list, followed by The Life Changing Magic of not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight (22%), 1984 by George Orwell (17%), The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger (17%) and The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (16%).

To get you up to speed on all of the books you’ve missed over the years, Audible Australia is today launching a “Listen List” – a specially curated list of audiobooks that includes everything from the classics to modern bestsellers, including a section on “Books Aussies are most likely to lie about reading”!

Listening to books on the go is a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t have time to sit down and read. If you’d like a hand deciding which audiobooks to try, check out Audible’s listen list, then use the “Search by Genre” drop down list on the right to read reviews about your favourite kinds of books. There’s even a section on award-winning audiobooks.

*This article is republished from Glam Adelaide with all research results (except where noted) supplied by Audible Australia.

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