A new Harris Poll is out, and among its findings are that mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels beat out chick-lit and romance novels by a large margin; and that more women than men read mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels.
The poll, conducted among 2,775 U.S. adults online this past August, found that among those who say they read at least one book in an average year, equal numbers—about eight in 10—said they have read a novel or nonfiction book in the past year. Almost half (48%) of fiction readers said they read mysteries, thrillers and crime novels, while a quarter read science fiction (26%) and another quarter (24%) read “literature.” One in five said they read romance novels (21%) and one in 10 have read graphic novels (11%) in the past year. Chick-lit (8%) and western (5%) books are less popular among respondents.
Among those who read nonfiction, 31% read histories, 29% read biographies, and 26% read religious and spirituality books. Lesser numbers have read political books (17%), self-help books (16%), current affairs (14%), true crime (12%), and business (10%) books in the past year. Respondents aged 18 to 33 are more likely than other age groups to read “literature” (42%) and graphic novels (18%). Readers 65 and older are more likely to read mystery, thriller, and crime novels (61%) and westerns (9%). Women are more likely than men to read mysteries, thrillers, and crime novels (57% versus 39%), romance (37% versus 3%), chick-lit (12% versus 4%), and religious books (30% versus 21%). Men are more likely to read science fiction (32% versus 20%), history books (40% versus 23%), political books (25% versus. 10%), and business books (16% versus 4%).
Respondents’ favorite authors were those on the top of the bestsellers lists: Stephen King, James Patterson, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien.