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Male and older readers who have read at least one book in the past year are more likely to say they have read a non-fiction book than female or younger readers, according to the results of a new Harris Poll.

Men, Baby Boomers, Matures Most Likely to Read Non-Fiction
Dividing US consumers 18 and older who have read a book in the past year into gender and age segments, men, Baby Boomers 46-64 and Matures 65 and older are slightly more likely than the 78% overall average to have read a non-fiction book. Seventy-nine percent of male readers say they have read a non-fiction book, as have 81% of Baby Boomers and Matures.

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In contrast, 77% of female readers and 73% of Echo Boomers 18-33 say they have read a non-fiction book in the past year.

Men Prefer History, Politics, Current Affairs, Business
There are three non-fiction genres where a wide gender gap exists, and in all three cases male readers are much more likely to say they have read a book in this genre than female readers.

The widest gap occurs in the history genre, which 40% of male readers but only 23% of female readers say they have read in the past year. There is also decided male bias in the non-fiction genres of political (25% compared to 10%), current affairs (20% compared to 9%), and business (16% to 12%).

The most significantly female-oriented non-fiction genre is self-help, which 19% of female readers and 12% of male readers have read in the past year.

Interestingly, there are no major variations from the norm (more than six percentage points) in any non-fiction genre according to age bracket.

Women, Younger Readers Slightly Favor Fiction
Among US women 18 and older who have read at least one book in the past year, 84% say they have read a fiction book. In contrast, 73% of male readers have read a fiction book, according to other results of this Harris Poll. Interest in fiction also peaks with the youngest adult readers and declines with age. Eighty-four percent of Echo Boomers 18-33 who have read a book in the past year have read a fiction book, compared to 76% of both Baby Boomers 46-64 and Matures 65 and older.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9 and 16, 2010 among 2,775 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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