Book Reading: Plain as Black & White

By Chris Hoenig


Photo by Shutterstock

There are no racial gaps between Blacks and whites when it comes to book reading. In fact, no matter what form the book comes in, Blacks are slightly more likely than whites and significantly more likely than Latinos to have read a book in the past year, according to a Pew Research study.

The study, which initially investigated the ownership and usage of e-readers, found that 76 percent of American adults have read a book in the past 12 months. More than a quarter (28 percent) had read it on an e-reader or tablet, while almost seven of every 10 adults (68 percent) had read a book in print and 14 percent listened to an audiobook.

Black adults led every category, with 81 percent of those surveyed having read a book in some form in the past year, more than whites (76 percent) and Latinos (67 percent). Three-quarters of Black Americans read a book in print, while 30 percent read one on an e-reader or tablet and nearly one out of every five (19 percent) listened to an audiobook. That compares to 71 percent of white adults who read a print book, 29 percent who read an e-book and 14 percent who listened to an audiobook.

Latinos were the least likely to have read a book in print (56 percent) or on an e-reader or tablet (16 percent), and tied with white adults (14 percent) in audiobook usage.

Black and white participants also read about the same amount, with whites reading an average of 13 books in the past year, compared to 12 books for Black adults. The average Latino adult read seven books.

The lack of racial gaps in book reading comes despite gaps in several demographic categories—including education and household income, where racial gaps are already known to exist—as well as racial gaps in the ownership of tablets and e-readers. “Given the correlations with income and education, I do agree that even the lack of differences between whites and Blacks is very interesting, especially since whites are more likely to own dedicated e-readers like Kindles or Nooks,” study author Kathryn Zickuhr told DiversityInc.

White adults were more likely to own tablets (41 percent vs. 34 percent) and dedicated e-readers (35 percent vs. 24 percent) than Black Americans. Latinos, however, were the most likely to own a tablet (45 percent) and least likely to own an e-reader (18 percent).

“Women are more likely than men to have read a book in the previous 12 months, and those with higher levels of income and education are more likely to have done so as well,” Zickuhr and co-author Lee Rainie wrote. “There were no significant differences by age group for rates of reading overall.”

Younger adults were more likely to have read on a tablet or e-reader than older adults, but still preferred print books to electronic editions. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of adults under age 30 read a book in print, while only 37 percent had read an electronic version and 15 percent listened to an audiobook.

Not a single breakout of any demographic in the study—including gender, age, race/ethnicity, income, education level and community type—was more likely to read on an electronic device than in print.

Generational, educational and income gaps, like racial gaps, existed in e-reader and tablet ownership. Americans under age 50 were most likely to own both types of devices, with ownership rates decreasing with age. College graduates were also more likely than those who had not completed college to own them, while those current and former college students owned tablets and e-readers at a higher rate than those who had not attended college. Likewise, as household income increased, so did the likelihood of owning an electronic reading device.

“E-reader owners are more likely to be white, between the ages of 30 and 64, and with at least some college experience,” the authors write. “Those with tablet computers are more likely to be younger (under age 50), with higher levels of education and from relatively well-off households—close to two-thirds (65 percent) of people living in households earning $75,000 or more annually now own a tablet.”

Gender gaps were virtually nonexistent in tablet ownership (43 percent of women vs. 42 percent of men) but did occur to some degree among those who have e-readers (33 percent of women, 29 percent of men).

Pew Research provided DiversityInc with detailed data that showed racial gaps in income and education did exist among study participants. Half of all Black participants and 54 percent of Latinos had not attended college, compared with just 39 percent of whites. Nearly three out of 10 white participants were college graduates, compared with 18 percent of Blacks and 17 percent of Latinos.

More than double the share of white adults in the study earned more than $75,000 in household income last year compared to Blacks (30 percent vs. 12 percent) and Latinos (11 percent). At the opposite end of the scale, nearly half of Blacks (47 percent) and 59 percent of Latinos earned less than $30,000, while just 30 percent of whites fit that category.

Latest News

Humana Announces Health Care Provider Initiative to Help Ease Financial and Administrative Stress During Coronavirus Pandemic

Originally posted on Humana.com Leading health and well-being company Humana Inc., announced actions designed to help provide financial and administrative relief for the health care provider community facing unprecedented strain during the coronavirus pandemic. First, Humana is implementing simplified and expedited claims processing, in order to get reimbursement payments to providers…

Georgia Power Invites Georgians to Say ‘Thank You’ to Employees During Thank a Lineman Month

Originally published on southerncompany.com. For the eighth year in a row, Georgia Power and other electric utilities in Georgia are celebrating and thanking utility workers across the state. The daily work done by linemen in Georgia’s communities is always recognized, but their work is especially pronounced during today’s challenges from the escalating COVID-19 pandemic…

Mastercard: Learning @ Home with Girls4Tech™ Connect

Originally published on newsroom.mastercard.com. Mastercard Provides Free Online STEM Lessons to Children, Teachers and Parents Mastercard extended access to its signature STEM curriculum, Girls4Tech™, through a suite of new online, creative educational resources. The program has been designed to help parents and teachers engage and inspire kids, ages 8-12. Through…

ADP Preparedness Toolkit

Originally posted on ADP LinkedIn Find FAQs, checklists, webcasts, and the resources to help you protect and manage your workforce in the ADP Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Employer Preparedness Toolkit: https://bit.ly/2xuM2jW

feinstein, northwell

Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes Teams Up with Sanofi, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences to Test COVID-19 Treatments

The research arm of Northwell Health (No. 2 on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top Hospitals & Health Systems), the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, is partnering with Gilead Sciences, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi (No. 31 on DiversityInc’s 2019 Top 50 Companies for Diversity) to identify treatments for people hospitalized with moderate to severe…

EY Named a Leader in Managed Security Services and Professional Security Services in Asia-Pacific in Two Studies by IDC

Originally posted on EY.com EY is a leader in Asia-Pacific professional security services among 17 vendors EY has been recognized by IDC as a leader in two of its studies: IDC MarketScape: Asia/Pacific Managed Security Services 2020 Vendor Assessment, and IDC MarketScape: Asia/Pacific Professional Security Services – Advisory, Assessment, and Awareness 2020…