Time for UK readers to think outside the bookcase

While we love revisiting favourites, UK readers could miss out on broadening their horizons, a survey for ShelterBox Book Club reveals.

29 October 2020

Press release - 29 October 2020


  • 40% of UK adults say they rely on literature to develop their understanding of other culture
  • But only 13% admit to knowingly reading a book by a BAME author in the last 12 months

While we’re fond of revisiting favourite books and authors, UK readers could miss out on broadening their horizons, a survey for ShelterBox Book Club has revealed.

While 40% of UK adults say they rely on literature to develop their understanding of other cultures, only 13% admit to knowingly reading a book by a BAME (Black, Asian or minority ethnic) author in the last 12 months, according to new research from disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

More than two thirds (68%) are open to the idea of experimenting with authors and genres different from what they are used to. However, of the 11 books the average person reads each year, 33% are from the same genre or by the same author, while half (50%) of readers admit to revisiting the same books for the feelings of comfort and familiarity they bring.

ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essentials to families who’ve lost their homes to disaster or conflict.

ShelterBox launched the UK’s first charity book club to offer stories with voices from countries where the charity has supported communities, all while raising money for disaster relief.

For a donation of £10 a month, members vote for the next title, receive their new book in the post and join an online discussion every 6 weeks. Previous titles have included The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, and Life as a Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi.

Kizzy Gardiner, Head of Fundraising and EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) for ShelterBox, says:
‘Our Book Club members tell us they love their subscription, because it’s got them hooked on books they’d never have chosen themselves, and broadened their experience and understanding of different cultures worldwide.

‘We all enjoy the comfort of reading an old favourite, but joining a book club is a great way to expand your horizons, especially when we’re stuck at home. And with ShelterBox you’re part of a club with a difference – helping disaster-hit families with every book you read.’

Visit www.shelterbox.org to find out more and sign up from just £10 a month.

Ends

Notes to editors

For more information or interview requests, please contact [email protected]

KEY STATISTICS*

  • 40% of UK adults say they rely on literature to develop their understanding of other cultures
  • Only 13% admit to having knowingly read a book by a BAME author in the last 12 months
  • More than two thirds (68%) are open to the idea of experimenting with authors and genres different to what they are used to
  • Of the 11 books the average person reads each year, 33% are the same genre or by the same author
  • Half (50%) of readers admit to revisiting the same books for the feelings of comfort and familiarity they bring

*The research for ShelterBox was carried out online by Opinion Matters throughout 28.09.2020 to 30.09.2020 amongst a panel resulting in 2,002 UK adults responding. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

Contact the ShelterBox Media Team

 

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