Heatmap of which states are reading the most during quarantine

These States are Using Quarantine Time to Read

The last month and a half has created its fair share of challenges as we all adjust to life during COVID-19, but with challenge comes opportunity. Americans are spending more time at home and free time, formerly a rare commodity, is now an abundant resource that many of us have no idea what to do with.

If it were up to us, everyone would spend a little more time reading. It’s a great way to learn something new and provides a healthy form of mental escape at a time when we all could use one. Knowing that a lot of people probably feel the same, we set out to see which Americans have been spending their quarantine time curled up with a good book. We broke out the results by state, and here’s a quick look at the top 10:

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Oregon
  • Wyoming
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • Alaska
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota

Methodology

Figuring out which states have been reading the most during quarantine was pretty simple. As many of us look for things to do with our free time, we’ve turned to Google for inspiration. Search trends have shot through the roof for everything from home workouts to bread recipes, but we narrowed our focus on terms that would suggest an increased level of book purchases and reading. Leveraging data from Google Trends, we identified four of these terms that have all spiked in popularity since mid-March when states began implementing stay-at-home policies:

  • “free books”
  • “ebooks”
  • “books to read”
  • “best books”

Each state is ranked by Google Trends on a scale of 0-100 based on the popularity of the term compared to the rest of the country. For example, if one state receives a 70 and another receives a 35, that means that the term is searched twice as much in the first state.

Scores were recorded for each of the four terms above and averaged to identify which states have been spending the most time reading during quarantine. After all the number crunching was done, New York emerged as the top state.

Check out the table below to see where your state ranked. If you’ve been spending your free time reading as well, check out our great selection of books or browse by subject to find your next favorite.

Summary Stats

RankStatefree booksebooksbooks to readbest books
1New York621007052
2District of Columbia3933100100
3Oregon65487360
4Wyoming58459940
5Vermont100414752
6Massachusetts63407463
7Nebraska68388942
8Alaska75765828
9Rhode Island85306948
10South Dakota93356635
11Iowa76376949
12Utah70436749
13Delaware76535346
14Kansas78376349
15New Hampshire64357849
16Maine76227652
17New Jersey73357048
18Idaho68397047
19Minnesota60486748
20Connecticut67406748
21Hawaii57457145
22Oklahoma61427635
23California57406948
24Washington63346055
25Michigan65326944
26Virginia59366347
27Colorado59355655
28Kentucky62406933
29Wisconsin65345945
30Arkansas67277038
31North Carolina60376441
32Missouri63385841
33South Carolina58445938
34Maryland58435741
35Illinois51316844
36Texas62296637
37Pennsylvania60325941
38Mississippi68355730
39Alabama59336532
40Nevada60207136
41Tennessee60246340
42Ohio50346637
43Georgia55326136
44West Virginia55356231
45Arizona56315541
46New Mexico60354737
47Montana54166443
48Indiana60255240
49Florida56325435
50North Dakota53262761
51Louisiana51345030

Sources:

Google Trends. “Explore What the World is Searching.” trends.google.com/trends/. 22 April 2020.

About the author

Alison Blankenship
Senior Marketing Manager
I graduated Cum Laude from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with degrees in Marketing and Communications. I’ve been working in the textbook business for over 10 years, and my work has been featured by College Confidential, Mercy College of Health Sciences, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Tribune, Montana Technological University, and other organizations.

I’m an obsessive lover of dachshunds and a passionate reader of books. I’m an avid Pinner and poster, and I’m all over our Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Pinterest.

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