World Book Day Survey Findings

Latest Harris 24 Research

Lauren Devens

World Book Day has occurred every first Thursday of March in the UK and Ireland for the past 20 years. It is an excellent opportunity for children to celebrate their favourite book characters in a creative way. It also provides them with the means to purchase more books either for free or a reduced price via book tokens.

We were keen to find out general levels of awareness of World Book Day among parents of children aged 2-16 years, so we conducted a Harris 24 survey at the end of February; 515 parents were asked about World Book Day and other related reading topics. Here are some of the key findings:


  • 4 out of 5 (81%) of UK parents of children aged 2-16 are aware of World Book Day

Q: It is World Book Day on 2nd March, before today were you aware of this? 

Reading to children:

  • While 95% of parents of children aged 2-5 read to their children, less than half (43%) read to them every day!

Printed Books vs Kindle & Tablet:

  • Parents of younger age groups 2-5 (81%) 6-11 (75%) express a preference for printed books alone
  • Two thirds (66%) of parents of older kids 12-16 also express a preference for printed books 28% express an interest in both printed books and kindle or tablet versions

Purchasing books for children:

  • Over half of parents (52%) of 12-16 year olds predominantly purchase books online for their children
  • After online purchases, 1 in 4 parents (25%) of 6-11 year olds are most likely to purchase books for their children from chains such as Waterstones / WHSmith
  • With 23% of parents of 2-5 year olds opting to purchase from Supermarkets

Library habits:

  • 22% of parents with children aged 2-16 do not visit libraries with their children
  • 78% of parents with children aged 2-16 have visited the library at least once in the past 12 months  (88% of parents with children aged 6-11)

Additionally, children aged 6-11 were most likely out of the three age groups to attend a school that celebrated World Book Day with a score of 85%. This number drops significantly to 52% amongst 12-16 year olds, which is understandable given that this is the oldest age group.


Q: Is your child’s school celebrating/participating in World Book Day this year? 

More of the data behind this survey is available. Click HERE to view the full report.

Positively for publishers and authors, there’s no doubt World Book Day certainly boosts book sales! National Book Tokens Ltd. sends approximately 15 million book vouchers to children and young people which they can then take to a participating bookstore and exchange for one of ten new, free, specialised books. Alternatively, those with a book voucher can choose to use it for £1 off selected books or audiobooks.

One area that’s worth exploring further is whether, and by how much events such as World Book Day contribute to literacy levels in children overall? A matter for another blog perhaps? Happy reading!


  • Harris 24
  • Harris Interactive
  • survey
  • World Book Day