How Many Books Should You Read in a Month?

At this point there aren’t going to be many arguments about whether or not reading is good for you. As long as you’re not reading complete mind-numbing trash, it’s accepted as a great habit and even reading that other stuff can have cognitive benefits. What’s interesting to me in today’s “Always Grind” society is the idea that there’s a set number of books that someone “should” read in a month.

What an odd concept, but since the question is being asked by so many people in good faith – let’s answer it! So how many books should you read in a month?

You should read as many books in a month as you can reasonably fit into your schedule and enjoy. If you read just 2 books a month on average, you’re in an elite group of readers compared to American averages.

The average American reads 12 books a year, which comes out to one a month. Reading more than that automatically puts you past the average reader.

reading in the park
Reading more books can be far easier than most people believe.

How Many Books Make You a “Super Reader?”

This term is subjective, and a lot can depend on the types of books and your intention behind reading more. If you read 2 a month or more for 24 a year you’re double the average reader. However, considering the real average is closer to 4, it shows that the avid “super readers” in the population are pulling the numbers way up.

Meaning if you want to be a super reader compared to other avid readers, you’re looking at yearly numbers that are closer to 36+ books a year, with many readers who actually set goals of 52 books a year for a minimum of one per week on average. This is a very solid number and is also achievable with good reading habits.

When you talk to many entrepreneurs the numbers often hit 50-100 books a year, and many of these individuals are extremely intentional about reading. They are firm believers that the benefits of intentional reading give you such a lead over any competition that doesn’t read.

So depending on what your goals are, pretty much anyone will find 30+ impressive and solid number, 50 is sort of the baseline of “Super Reader” and if you really want to stretch yourself, shoot towards that 100 books a year number.

When Shouldn’t You Read More Books?

Basically, generally speaking you should limit how many books you read at the same time. Reading multiple non-fiction books at once, especially if they are on similar subjects, can overload the brain and cause you to retain far, far less than if you read separate books or just waited to read them separately.

Some people find they can balance multiple fiction books at once. I can, though I generally don’t like to, and for me I can balance about three at once but only if they are different genres so the storylines don’t get confused, and I prefer if one is a short story collection.

So I might read Nightmares & Dreamscapes by Stephen King, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (sci-fi), and The Demon Wars Saga by R.A. Salvatore (fant-adv) that could work because of the different genres, but I wouldn’t want to read three horror novels at once or three science fiction novels at once.

Generally, it’s always good to read more books, but in some situations you may want to schedule intentional reading or look at enacting actions versus reading more (especially with reading self-improvement or self-help books), but otherwise reading more is almost always a good thing.

Why Read More Books?

There are many great reasons to want to read more books. Aside from the many reason I covered in the article Are Books Entertainment (they are), reading has a huge number of provable benefits including:

  • Improved reading speed
  • Improved reading cognition
  • Reduced stress
  • Better sleep (when reading right before bed – books, not screens)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved IQ/intelligence

Then there’s just the entertainment factor. No matter how good a movie or TV series, there’s a limit to how much of the world can be explored. If you are reading a book you’re going to know the world, the characters, the greatest story, and be introduced to dozens of other elements that allow the imagination to run wild.

If the focus is on non-fiction or self-improvement, books are also amazing. You can get business advice from people with decades of advice running a business. You can read philosophy from the greatest philosophical minds in the world. Read self-help by people who overcame crippling depression to gain the tools to do so yourself. Learn story telling from the best fiction writers ever.

The wisdom of the world comes in the form of books, and so if you ask me how many books you should read my general answer is always going to be “At least one more.” And the answer never changes even after you read another one.

books on book shelf
Many books all there just waiting to be read.

Common Reading Questions

It’s always important to remember that what is obvious or easy to a practiced expert might be new or unknown to others. So for voracious readers the idea of reading double digit books a month isn’t new. Many of us probably have done so multiple times in our lives…often when there was more time like when we were younger, but those take habits and influences take time.

The following are some of the most common reading questions when it comes to how many books a month someone should read, and hopefully the answers give plenty of encouragement to readers of all levels wondering how many books they should read in a week, month, year or just in life in general!

Is it possible to read 4 books in a month?

Absolutely. In fact, a book a week is a very easy pace that even most busy people can easily work into their habits, assuming the books aren’t gigantic like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

While this might seem challenging at first to non-readers, the longer you keep up the consistent habit of reading 25-30 minutes a night, the faster and faster you’ll read as the months go by. You’ll also almost certainly find your reading time creeping upwards first to 35 minutes, then 45 minutes, and even more.

The most important part is to get into good habits, and those habits will eventually carry you through to 4 books a month (and more) easily.

Is it possible to read 10 books in a month?

Yes. Even with my ridiculously busy schedule, 10 books a month is roughly what I average over the course of a year. This can require a decent amount of hours set aside to read, and a decent reading speed helps, but this is absolutely a viable goal for the majority of adults.

Can I read 20 books in a month?

Reading 20 books a month is fully possible, but will require time and dedication for most of us. Even voracious readers will find this challenging not because it’s not possible, but the sheer number of hours that are going to be needed in order to enjoy that many books.

If you can find the hours, then it’s a great way to improve your life, enjoy your free time, and become a truly elite reader with a book recommendation for anyone who asks 🙂

Read Away!

So at the end of the day you should try to set aside a few minutes each day or a half an hour each day when you can read and enjoy that time. Whether it’s non-fiction, self-improvement, or just your favorite genre of fiction, the benefits of daily reading are undeniable.

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