We live in an age of digital technology but Britain is still a nation of bookworms, according to the results of a poll of more than 2,000 people.
Computers may be the big accessory to modern-day living, but the survey by vision correction specialist Ultralase found that the average Brit still manages to spend on average seven hours and 54 minutes a week immersed in a good book.
Over half the nation - 53% - spends at least half an hour reading each day, and the average Brit will get through two and three-quarter books each month.
Seven out of 10 people surveyed said they preferred the feeling of a real book to reading on an e-reader.
Most people said they read to escape everyday stresses or broaden their knowledge, although over a third admitted they had hidden behind a book to check out a guy or girl, avoid a conversation, or indulge in a spot of people watching.
James Bond and Elizabeth Bennett top the list of the nation's favourite book characters, followed by Jane Eyre, Hermione Grainger, Miss Marple, Harry Potter, Gandalf, Bella, Poirot, and Jack Ryan.
The survey was conducted by Ultralase to coincide with the launch of its Great Book
Former Olympic athlete and Ultralase patient, Jonathan Edwards, is lending his support to the campaign, which will track 100 books and their travels across the UK.
The books range in genres, from horror classics to modern romances, and will be left in public places with 'Read Me' labels attached to their covers.
Anyone who discovers the book can log where they found it using QR codes, Twitter handles, Facebook or email.
Tony Veverka, Chief Executive at Ultralase, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be launching our book migration and we can’t wait to see how far and wide the titles travel.
"As we can see from the research, reading may be one of our oldest past times but it’s certainly still a favourite - with so many people devoting their spare time to this hobby."
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The joy of a good book
Published 20 July 2012