Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Reading the reader: A survey of Australian reading habits

May 26, 2017


Reading the reader: A survey of Australian reading habits provides insights into contemporary preferences, behaviours and attitudes of Australians towards books and reading. The Australia Council has partnered with Macquarie University on this third and final stage of their three-year research project titled ‘The Australian Book Industry: Authors, Publishers and Readers in a Time of Change’.

Key findings

  • Australians value and enjoy reading and would like to do it more – reading books ranks higher than browsing the internet and watching television as the leisure activity Australians enjoy  the most.
  • Readers are mixing new digital options with conventional ways of reading.
  • Australians read more than book sales alone suggest – almost as many borrow books as buy them.
  • The Crime/Mystery/Thriller genre is the most widely read category and takes top spot as favourite category.
  •  Australians value Australian books and the Australian book industry.
  • The vast majority of Australians believe that books have a value that’s greater than their monetary cost.

Interactive Dashboards

Scroll down or click links below to explore more findings through our three interactive dashboards. Filter results by age, gender and reader category.
Discovering books to read.
Choosing a book to read.
Attitudes to books and the Australian book industry.

Discovering books to read

Overall, word of mouth and browsing in bookstores are the most common ways that Australians find out about new books. Here you can explore how discovery of new books varies by age group and gender, and see how frequent readers compare to occasional readers.


Choosing a book to read

Readers consider a range of factors when choosing books. The topic, setting, subject and style are the top priority for most people, but other factors vary across age group, gender and reader type. Explore and compare here.


Attitudes to books and the Australian book industry

Australians overwhelmingly feel that books are important and valuable from both a personal and societal perspective. Explore here how attitudes vary across age group and gender, and between occasional and frequent readers.