According to a new Angus Reid poll asking 4,240 Canadians how they’re spending their free time during the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 per cent of respondents said that they’re reading more books than usual. That compares to the 63 per cent who are streaming more TV and movies, and the 59 per cent who reported scrubbing and organizing away the hours. Other pastimes on the rise include calling friends and family (55 per cent), taking walks (53 per cent), baking and cooking (49 per cent), and playing video games (33 per cent).
Those numbers align closely to a new survey conducted by BookNet Canada, which examines the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian reading habits. In its poll of 748 people, 58 per cent of respondents state that they are reading more than before; 39 per cent are reading the same amount; and 4 per cent are reading less. The survey also reported a decrease of 17 per cent in virtual book clubs and reading groups.
Reading habits, however, remain consistent. The majority of respondents are buying (63 per cent) and borrowing books (64 per cent) at the same rate as they were before February, and there is very little change in genres and choice of formats between physical print, ebook, and audiobook.