Man reading a book

Why Do Adult Men Read Less and Less? 15 Reasons To UnPack

My brother recently dropped a surprising statement during a casual conversation – he mentioned that most adult men he knows don’t read. It got me thinking about the varying reading habits among different groups and genders. Are his observations accurate, or is there more to the story? Opinions on this matter seem to be diverse, touching on factors like interests, time constraints, and access to reading materials. So, let’s dive into this thought-provoking question: Do adult men truly read less, or is there more to the pages of this story than meets the eye?

Most People Read Less

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People agreed that although men may not read much, it is not only them. Many people do not read, and it is not something we should be proud of. One reply even stated that more than 50% of adults hadn’t read a book in the past year! 

Wide Selection

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Many men do not read, but the men who do seem to read a large selection. Genres range from historical non-fiction to mystery. Trying to help men find a genre they will enjoy to get them started on their reading journey may help increase the number of men who read. They’re not like women reading all the romance books we can.


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Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory, and verbal processing speed. Some men reported being diagnosed with dyslexia later in life and say they just do not like reading now.

Unable to Read

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20% of people are functionally illiterate. This means they can not read; however, they have found strategies and ways to make it appear as though they can and continue to do their job, simple tasks, etc. This can easily affect the reading habits of men. 

Watch Instead of Read 

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Romance novel sales have always blown all other book sales out of the water. Women enjoy these books most and seem to buy enough to keep the other genres in the dark. One reader said this is because men watch P, and women would rather read it. Maybe they’d like a good anime book instead?

No Novels

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Many men admit to not sitting down with a novel as much as they like. However, they enjoy reading other types of writing, such as professional magazines, technical PDFs, Internet research for work and personal purposes, comic books, text-based social media, etc. One man said that he feels like he spends even more time “reading” as an adult than he did as a child. And he read a lot as a child.

Too Busy

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Life gets crazy, and you often do not have time to sit and enjoy a good book! Men report working long hours and then wanting to come home and watch the news, a sports game, or just take a nap on the couch. Many even said they had their children’s activities to keep them busy on the weekend and their time off, too! 

Hemisphere Habits

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It may just be a Western Hemisphere problem because it seems as though men from Europe and Asia enjoy a good book. One person said while traveling on those continents, they constantly saw men sitting down with books, often asking them what book they were reading and the premise of it.

Written By a Woman

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Apparently, there is a stigma around reading a book written by a woman if you’re a man. Some men report male family members who refuse to read books written by women. This does not go for women. However, they will read books written by either gender. 

Not Masculine 

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Reading is often seen as being non-masculine by many men. Sitting down to read a good book just isn’t the same as building a new shelf or heading to the football field. One person even said their masculinity was called into question by their brother-in-law when he told him that he was an avid reader. 


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Many people consider reading a hobby that some enjoy, and some do not. Men often have other hobbies that keep them busy and learning. Reading is not one of them, and that’s okay with many people. Women also have hobbies that are not reading, and we don’t question why those women don’t read. 

Not Valued

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Many young males in elementary school and middle school do not read, and a school librarian has said that is because they do not see their fathers, uncles, grandfathers, etc. reading. She goes on to say that they see reading as not valued by adult males and feel like they don’t need to read. 


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Audiobooks have really blown up the book market. Many authors even narrate their audiobooks. Many men report changing over to audiobooks while mowing the lawn, driving to work, or while at the office. Although it is not a physical book, an audiobook should count.


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Podcasts are hosted by almost everyone nowadays—celebrities, CEOs, sports stars, etc. Over 144 million people listen to a podcast every month, which is quickly climbing. This form of media is sometimes even replacing reading. 


Being Poor: man standing with pockets out to show no money.
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Finally, people seem to agree that men do not want to spend money on books. Books can range from $8-$20, and that is something men are not willing to spend. However, one male who volunteers in a second-hand bookstore said that most of his customers are men.

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