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Oops...I Read It Again!

Posted at 7:52AM Friday 09 Nov 2007

New Research Reveals We Just Can't Stop Revisiting Our Favourite Reads

London, 9th November 2007: New research released today by Costa, the UK's fastest growing coffee chain, reveals that 77% of UK readers have enjoyed a book* so much the first time that they've gone back to read it again.

The research shows that well over a quarter (29%) of re-readers revisit a book at least twice, 27% three times and 12% four times. Incredibly, almost a fifth (17%) have re-read a favourite tome more than five times.

The results form part of a research project, commissioned to mark the 2007 Costa Book Awards, which looked into the reading habits of the UK population.

Revisited Reads

The survey also looked at the nation's favourite 'revisited reads'. Topping the poll is JK Rowling's spectacularly popular Harry Potter series, followed closely in second place by JRR Tolkien's sweeping Lord of the Rings epic and in third place, Jane Austen's quintessential love story, Pride and Prejudice.

The Top 20 Revisited Reads:

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling

2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

6. 1984 by George Orwell

7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

8. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

10. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

11. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

12. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

13. Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews

14. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

15. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

16. The Bible

17. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

18. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

19. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

20. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

So why do we keep going back to our favourites? 59% of readers go back to a book because it's a fantastic story of which they never tire. 34% of people find once is just never enough as they derive something new with each re-read. 19% say they find re-reading a familiar book comforting and 18% claim it cheers them up. For 15% it's because they relate to the characters and a discerning 8% believe that they haven't read anything as good since their old favourite.

Judge a Book by....the First Chapter?

The survey also demonstrated we are a nation quick to judge. So quick, in fact, that when asked at what point readers decide if they are enjoying a book and will go on to finish it, over two in five (43%) said after the first chapter, nearly a third (30%) said they knew after the first 50 pages and 4% even admitted to being able to tell after reading the very first page.

Simon Trewin, literary agent at London-based agency, PFD, and reader of millions of words a year by aspiring authors-to-be said, "We live in a sound-bite generation where we are bombarded with choice – consumers are conditioned to make their minds up almost immediately about everything from music to books. The public want instant literary gratification and there has never been a more important time to remind the reading public not to judge a book by its cover."

The Costa Book Awards have the single aim of celebrating the most enjoyable books of the last year by writers based in the UK and Ireland. Since 1971, the awards have recognised a wide range of books and authors across all genres, and the Costa Book Awards is the only book prize to use a category system that includes First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book.

Since the introduction of the Book of the Year award in 1985, it has been won seven times by a novel, four times by a first novel, five times by a biography, five times by a collection of poetry and once by a children's book. The 2006 winner of the Costa Book of the Year was Stef Penney for The Tenderness of Wolves (Quercus).

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