Advanced search

Half of all books are unread

(14 Posts)
legoplayingmumsunite Thu 06-Mar-14 22:54:30

For world book day a survey has shown that the average British house has 138 books and over half of them are unread. I have lots more books than that but the majority are read (although I can't claim to have read every recipe in my sizable collection of cookery books).

So, what percentage of your books are unread?

OP’s posts: |
annabelcaramel Thu 06-Mar-14 22:58:40

None! I'm really surprised by that statistic. But then I read lots, and even if a book is dreadful I'll finish it; it feels very wrong not to for some reason.

ShadowFall Thu 06-Mar-14 23:26:57

I've got stacks of books waiting to be read - I haven't counted, but there's definitely far more than 138 unread books in my house. I find it difficult to resist buying books that look interesting when I accidentally wander into bookshops.

But, the proportion of unread books definitely make up much less than 50% of the total number of books in my house.

Cheboludo Thu 06-Mar-14 23:29:42

Funny, I've been thinking about this recently. I buy far more books than I could ever hope to have the time to read and I assumed all readers did the same. I'm optimistically stockpiling them for retirement or quarantine or something, I guess. I was shocked when a good friend said they hadn't bought anything in the recent kindle sale because they were already reading something - I got my kindle 8 months ago but I've already bought 200 books. blush
So, having done a very quick calculation, I reckon there's about 2,500 adult books, 500 children's books & 250 cookbooks in our house. I'd say half of the adult books have been read, 450 of the children's books & all of the cookbooks have been browsed but only about 50 are used regularly.

bibliomania Fri 07-Mar-14 09:29:21

Oh well, it keeps the publishers in business. A man's reach must exceed his grasp/ Or what's a heaven for?

I don't buy many books - nearly always get them from the library. I've moved quite a lot so have had to prune my book collection fairly ruthlessly at various points. Most of the books I own are on my shelves because they are old favourites that I'm likely to re-read (although over the last couple of years, I haven't done much re-reading. Too many new books I want to plunge into!) I would say I've read at least 95% of the books I own.

DuchessofMalfi Fri 07-Mar-14 13:27:55

I have loads of books on my kindle and paperbacks that I haven't read yet.

I think there's a huge difference between "unread" and "waiting to be read" though. Unread would indicate, to me, that they were bought a long time ago and probably won't ever be read, but waiting to be read would indicate you intend to read them at some point.

If I were to look at my collection of books in that way, I'd say there were very few unread books, but a huge amount of waiting to be read books. That differentiation makes me feel a lot better about them smile

Impatientismymiddlename Fri 07-Mar-14 13:29:29

We have well over 1000 books and they have all been read except the Katie price autobiography that somebody bought me for Xmas and I can't imagine that it will be read before it makes it's way to the charity shop.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 07-Mar-14 15:30:44

Duchess is right, as always. Big difference between unread and waiting to be read.

I have a lot of non-fiction I've not read from cover-to-cover but mostly have dipped in and out of. I've read all bar 32 of the fiction - and that's because I always have a nice little pile both by the bed and on kindle so I can choose according to how I'm feeling when I finish the previous book.

Acinonyx Fri 14-Mar-14 09:17:32

Yes it's the non-fiction books read in bits here and there that tend to pile up. We have 4 figures worth and would have more if only we had a bigger house. Books that are clearly never going to be read go into the bi-annual culling process. There are usual maybe 6 or more novels waiting to be read - so less than 1%. I try not to buy more if there are 6 or more waiting.

quirrelquarrel Fri 21-Mar-14 10:15:10

Loads! A good 20-30 in my uni room at least, separated from the read ones. I do read them eventually! But when I get to choose a new book after finishing one, I want to have lots of choice, who knows what mood I'm in.
I make all sorts of promises to myself not to buy new books, and then I fall on something in a 2nd hand shop which I'll never find again, and I end up leaving with a add to the stack in my room.

Everysilverlining Fri 21-Mar-14 10:18:30

I have far more books than that, but of those in the house which are fiction I think about 50% are unread - because once they have been read they go to the charity shop if I am unlikely to read them again... it's a question of space. Also an academic husband and genral interest means we have a lot of non-fiction. I suspect almost none of those are compeltely unread.

MsMischief Fri 21-Mar-14 10:19:23

I bet I've got over 100 unread and of these there are probably about 20 that I'll never read. The never read ones fall into two categories. Worthy classics that I want to read but keep passing over for 'next time' and shit that people have given me that I have no interest in (50 shades, romances about poor but bright girls from 18C fishing villages who fall for scoundrels etc)

gastrognome Sun 23-Mar-14 06:53:35

I have plenty of unread books. Some were bought for me but I know I won't like them. Others I am meaning to read. Others I bought on recommendation or a whim but no longer appeal (I may or may not get round to reading them!)
I probably have more unfinished than unread books though. I used to struggle to the end of every book I read but now if I'm not enjoying one I put it to one side. There are too many books out there that I want to read to waste time on something I'm not enjoying...

BlueChampagne Sun 23-Mar-14 22:08:31

Few are left unread thanks to DH's years of commuting. And he works in publishing so keeps getting free books!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in