Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Confessions of a Serial-Shelver

Are you a slow worm, an avid reader, a double-booker or a serial shelver?

The Observer reveals news of (yet another) study into British reading habits - though somewhat annoyingly doesn't reveal the source of the data. Anyway, these are the findings from a survey of 2,000 readers :
... nearly half of women are avid readers who cannot put a book down once they begin it and who reliably get through a long list of titles in an average year. Men, on the other hand, are much less likely to keep up this sort of pace. Twice as many men as women admitted that they never finish a book.

... Forty-eight per cent of women can be considered to be Page Turners, or avid readers, compared with only 26% of men. Slow Worms are those who spend a long time reading, but who take their books very seriously and always finish them. They can often manage only one or two books a year. This group was made up by 32% of the male respondents and 18% of women.

Serial Shelvers have shelves full of books that have never been opened and are not likely to be: 17% of women and 20% of men fall into this category.

The Double Booker has at least two books on the bedside table. These are the butterfly-minded consumers who start a new book in the middle of another and claim they can easily switch from one to another. The gender divide here disappears completely, with 12% of both men and women in this category.
See yourself on this list? I'm a steady reader, neither slow worm nor avid; a serial shelver of the worst kind; more than a double-booker because I have more than one book on the go at any one time (though only one main I'm focusing on).

How about you?

(If this post appears on the site http://goodpfbooks.com/ it is without my permission.)


pussreboots said...

Husband and I are both avid readers. We do have a large number of shelved books that haven't been read yet but I have curtailed my buying until I get them read. My husband will read only one book at once but I tend to leave books in different rooms to read.

Michelle said...

I'm the same. I'm a serial shelver (though I'd like to believe that books that do end up on my shelves will eventually get read) and I can't concentrate on one book at a time. I'm always reading 3 or more at any one time. Can't really say I've got a steady pace though. I guess it really depends on how gripping the book is.

p/s: interesting study, this one.

Drachen said...

I am a multi booker. I am plagued by a short attention span and bad eyes. Anyway, there are books like 33 Strategies of War or Ideas That Changed the World which you can't finish in one go (or ten). They need to be slowly chewed and digested!

Putra Prosperity Burger said...

Hi Sharon..
Heard your interview in BFM today :-)

I'm a toiletbook reader.
I just cant "go" without bringing something to read. Its such a waste of time to just sit and "go"

Kama said...

I tend to buy a few books during each outing; readingwise, I can only handle one book at a time. I admire multi-bookers. How they keep track of the various plots is beyond me. My reading quota is 2 books/week and it has been that way for quite a while. At the moment I've got 7 books sitting pretty on the shelf waiting to be read...and I'm already itching to go to Bookers or MPH this weekend (this is so, so bad..)

Kama said...

ooppss.. Borders..

Chet said...

I "multi-task" in my reading, which would usually include 2 fiction and 1 non-fiction. The 2 fiction would be a heavyweight and a lightweight. This way, there's little chance of mixing up the plots, and of placing Mrs Murphy the tiger cat into Toni Morrison's A Mercy!

savante said...

Definitely an avid reader. Try to finish at least one book per week.

Michelle said...

Me too Chet! I haven't been reading any non-fiction but my fictions are usually made up of one classic, one heavyweight and one lightweight which is usually humourous or romantic (most chick-flicks fall into this category). Sometimes I throw in a book of short stories as well.

Ms Ulat Buku said...

No point denying... I'm a serial shelver! I'd like to think that the books will be read eventually but I keep buying new books!

Everything Finance said...

Hi Sharon,

This is Tushar Mathur.
The website http:goodpfbooks.com is NOT my site.

A few months ago I was approached by the owner of that site via email asking for a link exchange. I agreed to that.
Now I see that he doesn't even have my link anymore. So I have also removed his link from my blog.

I have also sent him an email about removing your content.

Can I please request you to remove your post about me? Since its not true.

I'm a credible Personal Finance blogger and well respected.
My content gets stolen all the time. But now I have put mechanisms in place so that every post automatically gets my website link and copyright info.
Many big Financial companies contact me to review their products.

Thanks for listening,

Tushar Mathur

hari ribut said...

i am an avid reader.then i became both avid reader and shelver.cant help myself everytime i am at the bookshop.then there are those magazines that i cant resist.there's something to read in the car/inside the handbag/in the toilet/at the office....help i am drowning in words!

bibliobibuli said...

Everything Finance - thanks for clearing this up and i will take the post down. but i think that you have a problem that you need to solve so that this will not continue to happen.

Everything Finance said...

Thank you.

bibliobibuli said...

oh and please can you pass on the guy's email to me - he owes me at least an apology

bibliobibuli said...

i took down the part of the post about you and stuck in what you wrote - i think my readers will want at least to know what's happening. will take the whole post down tomorrow, but would be so grateful for your help tracking this guy down.

Chet said...

But the site is listed as registered to Tushar Mathur.

The Siege Malvar said...

Definitely an octo-booker! I'm guessing you're a deca-booker, Sharon. Maybe even a dudeca-booker!

Everything Finance said...

The only email address I have is: admin@goodpfbooks.com

I haven't received a reply from them as yet. So I'm not sure if its still valid or not.

Chet said...

The registration details for the site have changed. Good thing I saved the earlier page which shows the earlier registration details.

Adlin said...

I'm a serial shelver who is also a multi-reader and at the same time, a slow reader. oops.

Just two nights ago I stayed up late wrapping up 11 new books i've bought in the recent months and these are on top of those already in store waiting to be read.

i actually cleared two of my clothes' drawers so that i could accommodate my books.

most of the time i'd read one book at a time, but i've read up to 3 books at a time with one being the main focus. at the moment, am reading two books.

and i read slow due to that i've stopped taking the train to work hence less reading time since i go to the gym + surf/write on my laptop at night. i try to get in a few pages at least before i turn in.

..maybe i'm just complicated.. ;oP

Damyanti said...

I read one short story collection, and maybe two novels at the same time.

I have slowed down now, but finish about three books a week. I become an avid reader occasionally, but that depends on the book.

I have recently turned a serial shelver. I just found to my shock that I have about 150 unread books bought in the last few months. I will chain myself to a heavy bed or cupboard next time there's a book sale!

Drachen said...

I got a question. I know reading is good but is it true that the more you read, the better you are and the more you know? Or do you hit a point of diminishing returns? Your thoughts?

Michelle said...

I do believe that books are an inexhaustible source of knowledge but even if you come to a point where you really end up not learning anything from them, you'll still get a form of return... enjoyment :)

Anonymous said...


Education does not come solely from reading books. You can't learn, for instance, how to drive by reading a book.

I'm somewhat amused by the writer's opinion that casual reading is "improper", like not dressing up for dinner or something :)