Romance books are ‘guilty pleasure’ – one in six will only read genre on holiday

Romance novels have been deemed the nation's top “guilty pleasure” reading genre – with one in six (17%) admitting they would only have the confidence to read them while on holiday.

The most popular book genres Brits like to get lost in on a trip abroad were found to be thrillers (29%) and mysteries (30%).

But almost a third (29%), of 5,000 adults polled, admit that when it comes to a romance story, they would be too ashamed to be seen reading one on their commute to work on public transport.

These readers would rather save books like this for when they are on a beach, away from the eyes of people who may know them – with those in Bristol, Wolverhampton, and Liverpool most likely to feel this way about the romance genre.

And a quarter of those polled admit they only find the time to crack open a book while on holiday – getting through 2.3 books during their one holiday a year, on average.

But 51% would love to read more in their day-to-day lives, if they weren't so busy with family – with those in Belfast and Brighton the most keen to get stuck into a paperback, while those in Leicester read the least.

Over a fifth (22%) admit to changing it up and reading different types of books on holiday – with people in Birmingham, Cardiff, and Newcastle most likely to expand their horizons.

However, Mancunians were found to be most likely to stick to what they know when it comes to genre choice, enjoying mysteries and thrillers the most both at home and away.

A spokesman for TUI BLUE, which commissioned the research, and has launched a book swap scheme for guests in a number of its hotels, said: “Finding the time to relax is so important, and losing yourself in a book is the perfect way to escape and unwind.

“In day-to-day life it can be easy to get wrapped up in what you’re doing from minute to minute, and hard to make time to get stuck into a book.

“And when do you have more quality time to unwind than on holiday? Whether on the flight to get there, on a sun lounger round the pool, or savouring a cool drink in the shade, holidays do provide the time and space to create those “me moments” it’s difficult to find at home.”

The study also found that, for 31%, other past times take priority over reading in their day-to-day lives, while 26% are too busy on their work goals.

But when they do crack the spine of a page-turner, 59% will read in bed, and 15% will knock a few pages off on their commute.

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And on holiday, the most likely places they'd be found reading include by the pool (56%), their room (45%), and on the balcony (42%) – with men more likely to be seen reading on holiday than women.

Those on the lookout for recommendations on what to pick up next found Newcastle readers were most likely to use social media (40%) compared to other areas, while a fifth of Londoners have got recommendations after listening to a podcast.

It also emerged 68% of respondents are still faithful to good old-fashioned paper books, with only 17% preferring e-readers.

Three-quarters (76%) would also be happy to donate a book they’d read and loved, so someone else could enjoy it – with Glaswegians (81%) the most likely to do so, according to the OnePoll data.

And 51% are happy to hit up friends and family for book-borrowing before they go away on holiday, for some fresh reads.

TUI BLUE’s spokesman added: “Book-borrowing is definitely a growing trend, and it’s something we’ve seen within our own hotels, with guests leaving reads for other holidaymakers to enjoy.

“This summer, we thought we’d take it a step further and make it super easy for people with a new book swap scheme in a number of our top destinations.

“You can pick up a pre-loved book and also share a few words of recommendation – or warning – with a personal note, saying why you loved or hated your read.”

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