The Bible is Americas Favorite Book Followed by Gone with the Wind

Fantasy Plays Strong as Both the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter Series are on the List as Well

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--()--When it comes to reading, we know what genre Americans are reading (see Harris Poll #37, April 7, 2008), but what is Americans favorite book? Across all demographic groups the number one book is The Bible. Behind The Bible, the Civil War is still being fought as Margaret Mitchells Gone with the Wind comes in second. Fantasy and a bit of fear round out the top five favorite books of all time: in at number 3 is J.R.R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings series and number 4 is that other fantasy series, J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter books. In fifth is one of the masters of scary books Stephen King and The Stand.

These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 2,513 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive® between March 11 and 18, 2008.

The next five start off with Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code, followed by To Kill a Mockingbird. Number 7 is another Dan Brown novel, the Robert Langdon prequel Angels and Demons, followed by Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged at number nine. Finishing off the top ten favorite books is J.D. Salingers Catcher in the Rye.

The Second Favorite Book among Different Groups

While The Bible is number one among each of the different demographic groups, there is a large difference in the number two favorite book. For men, that belongs to Lord of the Rings while women cite Gone with the Wind as their number two. There is also a generational divide. For Echo Boomers (those aged 18-31) their second favorite is the Harry Potter series while Generation X (those aged 32-43) is split between The Stand and Angels and Demons. Baby Boomers (those aged 44-62) and Matures (those aged 63 and older) think alike and both cite Gone with the Wind.

While its not surprising that Gone with the Wind is the second favorite book in the South, its also number two in the Midwest. Easterners are more partial to the Lord of the Rings series and Westerners cite The Stand as their second favorite book. Whites and Hispanics also say Gone with the Wind is their second favorite while African Americans say it is Angels and Demons. Educational levels have the largest differences. Those with high school or less education cite Gone with the Wind as their second favorite book of all time while Americans with some college education say it is The Stand. College graduates go to Lord of the Rings and those with a post graduate education are tied as both Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird come in number two for them.

Finally, they may not agree on candidates, but one thing that brings together partisans is their favorite book. For Republicans, Democrats and Independents, the top two books are the same The Bible followed by Gone with the Wind.




What is your favorite book of all time?

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

The Bible 1
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell 2
Lord of the Rings (series), by J.R.R. Tolkien 3
Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 4
The Stand, by Stephen King 5
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown 6
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 7
Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown 8
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand 9
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 10



Group Book
Men The Lord of the Rings (series)
Women Gone with the Wind
White Gone with the Wind
African American Angels and Demons
Hispanic Gone with the Wind
Echo Boomers (18-31) Harry Potter (series)
Gen X (32-43) The Stand; Angels and Demons
Baby Boomers (44-62) Gone with the Wind
Matures (63+) Gone with the Wind
Political Party  
Republicans Gone with the Wind
Democrats Gone with the Wind
Independents Gone with the Wind
East The Lord of the Rings (series)
Midwest Gone with the Wind
South Gone with the Wind
West The Stand
H.S. or less Gone with the Wind
Some college The Stand
College Grad The Lord of the Rings (series)
Post Grad The Lord of the Rings (series); To Kill a Mockingbird


This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States March 11 and 18, 2008, among 2,513 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.



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Harris Interactive Inc. 4/08


Harris Interactive
Tracey McNerney, 585-214-7756


Harris Interactive
Tracey McNerney, 585-214-7756