Barometer

How many books are in the average home?

9 May 2020

9:00 AM

9 May 2020

9:00 AM

Admitting defeat

8 May is celebrated as VE Day, but it is also a date which marks a significant English military defeat. It was the day in 1429 when the Earl of Salisbury’s forces were driven from Orleans by Joan of Arc, an event which provoked an English retreat from the Loire Valley and marked a turning point in the Hundred Years’ War. The event is marked in Orleans with an annual Fête de Jeanne d’Arc, featuring a parade through the city led by ‘Joan’.

Upwardly mobile

Residents on the Isle of Wight were urged to install an app on their phones which is being used in a pilot scheme for tracking contacts of people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. How many people own a smartphone, by age group?

18-24 | 93%

25-34 | 94%

35-44 | 92%

45-54 | 90%

55-75 | 80%

Source: Deloitte (2019)


There was no figure for over-75s, but in 2015 Ofcom suggested only 14% of over-65s use data services on a mobile phone.

Test results

The government just about reached its target for testing 100,000 people in a day before the end of April. Who is leading the global table for coronavirus testing? Tests per million people since the outbreak began:

Iceland | 147,700

UAE | 121,300

Bahrain | 84,700

Malta | 82,000

Luxembourg | 76,900

Lithuania | 52,900

Cyprus | 51,600

The UK (in 41st place) has done 17,700.

Shelf aware

TV interviews on Zoom have turned attention to the nation’s bookshelves. How many books does the average UK home have on its shelves?

— According to a survey carried out for World Book Day in 2015, the average home has 158 books.

— A quarter of them, however, have never been opened.

— Some 16% of people admitted to owning certain books purely to make themselves look more intelligent. Among the titles they felt good about owning were To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby-Dick and the Bible.

— By contrast, people felt embarrassed to own Fifty Shades of Grey and anything by James Patterson.

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