The Reading Habits Of Five Generations [Infographic]

reading habits

I’ll admit, I’m not great at remembering which generation is which, and I do get a kick out of how people like to pit one against another. I guess that’s just the way we do everything these days. OK Boomers vs. Millennials. Gen Z vs. Gen X. And is it wrong that I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Silent Generation? That doesn’t sound very supportive, especially as they were preceded by the Greatest Generation. Who gets to name these groups, anyway?

My personal issues aside, the folks at Best By The Numbers put together the infographic below charting the reading habits of five generations: Generation Z (age 5-25), Millennials (age 26–40), Generation X (age 41–55), Baby Boomers (age 56–75), and The Silent Generation (age 76–95). So it’s time to pick your favorite, select your nemesis, and bend the numbers to support your preconceptions.

But seriously, there is some interesting information here, and seeing how different generations consume, select, and engage with their reading materials is enlightening — and sometimes surprising. Among other things, now we know:

  • Gen Z prefers fantasy to other genres.
  • Millennials read more books than other generations.
  • Gen X reads more online news than other generations.
  • Baby Boomers rely on best-seller lists to find their books.
  • The Silent Generation spends the most time reading each day.
  • A preference for physical books spans all generations.

Check out the infographic for more insights into the reading habits of the different generations.

reading habits

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  1. This is good information to see, though I am a fantasy author and I aimed my books for Generation Z and Millennials yet when it came to who buys and reads it, over 50% my market is Baby-boomers and Silent Generation. Seeing this article and knowing who is more likely to pick up which genera is good, but never assume that is the only generation that will enjoy your book.

    • Have to agree. As a boomer I’m more likely to read exactly what they said – I love thrillers and mysteries/suspense. However, I’ve been known to get into fantasy on occasion, and lately, I’ve been reading more of it. The past few years I’ve also been reading more dystopian novels. But in the long run, what matters to me is that it is a great yarn with well-written plots and characters.

  2. I don’t know the age of my readers. I do know that as a baby boomer, I have never relied on bestseller lists to choose my reading material. I choose a book by the title and back cover blurb for authors I haven’t read before and by the author’s name for auto buy books. A book could have the worst cover in the world, but if the blurb intrigues me, I will buy it.

    We are all individuals. I have no idea why someone doing some study is always trying to pidgeon-hole people.

  3. I just discovered the existence of the Silent Generation of which I am a part. I always thought I was a Boomer. I mostly hung out with younger people. I guess being born in 1944 puts me on the cusp. However, I don’t fit the category at all. I do go to the library. A lot of Silents are too old to get to a library. I read more than half of my books on a Kindle. I hate mysteries. I love speculative fiction and Sci-Fi.

  4. Fascinating, to say the least! I also did not know there is a “Silent Generation” and wonder why its name. I am certainly not planning to be silent, even when I (soon) will enter that category!

  5. Taxonomy. Born in 1943, I was early on considered part of the Baby Boom since there were so much more of us than the kids of 42, 41, and 40. When the definition became causal (soldiers coming home) rather than purely statistical, sudden my group was not included. OK. Recently my son (echo of baby boom) told me of a new system, which had Pre-Boomers between Silents and Boomers. Some click bait site came to me claiming the Pre-Boomers eat better, exercise more, and suffer obesity less than Boomers. Whatever. Oh and the Silents (to me, not Real Grownups, just The Big Kids) –the Silents were the ones who made Rock and Roll popular. As my calculus teacher said, “Never underestimate the power of a definition. Currently I’m reading Trollope’s Ralph The Heir, a break from re-reading Ian Rankin and Michael Connelly.

  6. Based on the stats offered below it, one heading should read “More Millennials read books than any other generation” rather than “Millennials read more books than any other generation.” Same for “More teenage girls read fiction” and “More teenage boys read comic books.” Small quibbles. Thanks for compiling/posting this.

  7. […] Take any data set and slice and dice, and you can come up with whatever you want, so of course you shouldn’t put too much weight on this research into generational differences in reading preferences. Even the definition of generations is a variable. Still, The Passive Voice gives us this list of reading preferences by generation which originates at the BookBaby Blog. […]


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