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USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Press Release

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The Book Is Not Dead: 80 Percent of Californians Have Read a Book for Fun in the Last Month

Of those who own an e-reader, about one-third say they read more since getting it.

Media Contact: Suzanne Wu at (213) 740-0252 or

LOS ANGELES — April 27, 2011 — Despite hectic lives and competition from other forms of media, Californians are voracious readers and steadfast book lovers, according to results from the latest USC Dornsife College/Los Angeles Times Poll. Two-thirds of Californians say they like reading “a lot” and about one-fourth read at least a book a week.

About 18 percent of the Californians surveyed by the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll own a e-reader such as a Kindle, a Nook or an iPad.

For almost all of these tech-savvy readers, getting an e-reader has reinforced or enhanced the amount they read — 96 percent of those with an e-reader read the same amount or more books than they did before, including 34 percent who say they read more books now that they have an e-reader.

A few days before the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is expected to bring 150,000 book lovers — including rock icon Patti Smith, who once shelved books in a bookstore — to the University of Southern California campus, the newly released poll reveals the extent to which Californians are devoted book readers. Sixty-one percent of Californians surveyed spend at least three hours a week with their noses buried in a book.

This includes 31 percent of Californians who spent at least seven hours a week reading books for pleasure, and 17 percent who devote more than ten hours a week.

“These results reinforce quantitatively what we experience anecdotally: that people continue eagerly turning to books, in all their forms, for wisdom, entertainment, and exploration,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of USC Libraries. “The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is the nation’s largest public literary festival, and we are delighted to offer all of our visitors this rich opportunity for discovery at USC.”

A large majority — 80 percent — of Californians surveyed report reading at least one book in the last month. Of these, half are habitual readers: 40 percent of Californians read at least three books in the last month.

More Californians said they buy books in brick-and-mortar bookstores than online. But the single most popular place for Californians to pick up a book is at the library. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of Californians get the majority of the books they read from the library, including 30 percent of Latinos surveyed.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be held at USC for the first time this weekend, April 30–May 1. For a full program schedule and public transportation routes to USC, visit

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted from April 7—17, 2011 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 2.53 percentage points.

For more results and methodology of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, click here.

About the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll: The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is a series of statewide public opinion polls in California, designed to survey voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues.

Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls of registered voters in the state and has been widely cited, helping to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.

About USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences:
USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is the heart of the university. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC's 19 schools, USC Dornsife is composed of more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

About the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 4.5 million. The fast-growing draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.

Contact USC Media Relations 24/7 at (213) 740-2215 or