Our survey shows that reading books is a relatively unpopular activity. Twenty per cent of the sample had read no books in the 12 months prior to completing the survey, whilst two-thirds had read less than ten books. Only 12 per cent of the sample had read over 40 books in the previous year. Moreover 45 per cent had not read any of the six literary works that we asked about, despite these including works by notable contemporary best-selling or highly-borrowed authors like John Grisham, Catherine Cookson and J. K. Rowling. Such findings appear to fit well with persistent moral panics about the death of the book in the light of the emergence of various less apparently edifying forms of cultural engagement, such as television and film. At the same time, our data also suggest two important corrections to such narratives.