USC News

Menu Search

Who says books are archaic?

Four out of five Californians have read a book for pleasure in the last month. Photo/Susan Trigg

Californians are omnivorous readers and take in books through both the printed page and handheld screens, according to results of the latest USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll.

A growing number of Californians own either a tablet or an e-reader, such as a Kindle or Nook, and 87 percent of these technology adopters are very satisfied with their devices. Twenty-one percent of Californians own an e-reader.

But the results of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, which surveyed 1,500 voters statewide, showed that in addition to reading books digitally, an overwhelming majority of these e-reader owners also read books in print: About 86 percent of people who own an e-reader split their time between digital devices and traditional print books, including 54 percent who said they still read books in print most of the time or always.

The poll results, coming days before the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is expected to bring 150,000 book lovers to the USC campus – including iconic actress Julie Andrews and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – are a confirmation that the book, in all its forms, is alive and well in the Golden State.

“When you experience the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, our community’s enthusiasm for writing and writers is overwhelming, and these data tell us why,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries. “This poll shows that Californians are eager and devoted readers, that the written word is vibrant and enduring, and that paper and digital media work together in enriching the life of the mind.”

Californians also dedicate a significant amount of their leisure time to books, with two out of three adults, or 67 percent, saying they read for pleasure at least three hours a week, including 68 percent of black respondents, 58 percent of Latinos and 51 percent of Asian Americans.

More than one in five Californians, or 22 percent, said they read more than 10 hours a week “because they want to.”

Overall, 78 percent of Californians read at least one book a month in their free time, and more than one in four, or 27 percent, read at least one book a week, on average. Thirty-two percent of women in California and 21 percent of men read four or more books a month.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be held at USC on Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22. For a full program schedule and public transportation routes to USC, visit

Follow all election news coverage at Election 2012, a resource for journalists and others interested in politics created by USC Media Relations.

More stories about: , ,

Who says books are archaic?

Top stories on USC News