What Shapes Our Reading Preferences?

What has influenced the types of books you like to read?

The Freckle Project explores why we read what we read.

With the wide array of genres, writing styles, and movements that literature encompasses, peoples’ book preferences have branched out to match. When determining which books they should invest in, libraries have to consider these diverse preferences and, as such, need a solid understanding of their visitors’ preferences as well as how they’re formed. So, what exactly is it that shapes our reading preferences? Let’s take a look at a few of the most significant factors.


Age is one of the most noticeable factors in forming our reading preferences. As we grow older, we develop a taste for more complicated works and heavier subject matters, so the age demographics of a library’s visitors greatly influence the types of books that are checked out most frequently.

For example, a library with a large population of families with children will likely keep more picture books and basic chapter books in stock, while a library with a mostly adult population will carry a larger proportion of dense, more cerebral works.


Take action today to support libraries!

Popular Authors

Though libraries stock a wide variety of books from countless writers, a few authors enjoy a much greater degree of popularity than others. Whether due to a gripping narrative, an interesting writing style, or glowing reviews, these select few authors and their works are viewed as must-reads for any avid library visitor. Naturally, readers are more likely to check out these books, so the library will stock more of them as a result.

Relatable Protagonists

No matter the medium, people appreciate being able to see themselves in the protagonists of their favorite stories and tend to gravitate toward these types of protagonists. A complex, well-written character should be just as developed as a living, breathing human being, and with that complexity comes the same opinions, personality types, hidden fears, and motivations that people experience in their own lives.

Being able to relate to a character in this way makes for a much more engaging reading experience, so communities with certain shared experiences will see increased popularity among books with protagonists who also share this experience.


Send an email to your Representatives to show your support for libraries!

Subject Matter

In the same way that people prefer protagonists they can relate to, they also prefer books with a topic they have a prior interest in. For example, a community largely interested in media relating to true crime stories will be more likely to check out crime thriller novels.

Want to learn more about how libraries work to improve the lives of their visitors and community members? Feel free to visit our blog at EveryLibrary!



Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries. 

#librarymarketers: Enjoy this story? Want to use it for your library newsletter, blog, or social media? This article is published under Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International and is free to edit and use with attribution. Please cite EveryLibrary on medium.com/everylibrary.

This work by EveryLibrary is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0