How Many Books Will You Read Before You Die? The Answer Might Surprise You

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Book-lovers are divided into two types: those who religiously finish every book they start, and those who DNF. I'm about to throw you firmly into the latter category with this morbid little thought: I know exactly how many books you'll read before you die. Time is running out, my friend — and there's no point wasting your precious book quota on anything you're not enjoying.

There are estimated to be over 130 million books in the world, and pretty much every bookworm has, at some point, fantasized about reading all of them. But no matter how impressive your reading speeds, I'm here to shatter that dream: you won't read every book ever written. Emily Temple at Literary Hub did the calculations — and yeah, you won't even get close.

The number of books you'll read in your life depends upon a couple of factors: how long you'll live, and how fast you read. If you're a 25-year-old woman now, then — fun fact! — you've probably got about 61 years left to live. If you're an 80-year-old man, then that number's closer to nine. So how many books can you pack into those remaining years? Well, the average American reads 12 books a year — but as you're currently reading an article on a website for book-lovers, I'm assuming your reading tally is a little higher than that. Literary Hub classified "voracious" readers as those who read 50 books a year, and "super" readers as those who read 80 a year. Working on those calculations, here's what they came up with.

GIPHY

25 and female (61 years left)

Average reader: 732

Voracious reader: 3050

Super reader: 4880

25 and male (57 years left)

Average reader: 684

Voracious reader: 2850

Super reader: 4560

30 and female (56 years left)

Average reader: 672

Voracious reader: 2800

Super reader: 4480

30 and male (52 years left)

Average reader: 624

Voracious reader: 2600

Super reader: 4160

35 and female (51 years left)

Average reader: 612

Voracious reader: 2550

Super reader: 4080

35 and male (47 years left)

Average reader: 564

Voracious reader: 2350

Super reader: 3670

40 and female (45.5 years left)

Average reader: 546

Voracious reader: 2275

Super reader: 3640

40 and male (42 years left)

Average reader: 504

Voracious reader: 2100

Super reader: 3260

45 and female (40.5 years left)

Average reader: 486

Voracious reader: 2025

Super reader: 3240

45 and male (37 years left)

Average reader: 444

Voracious reader: 1850

Super reader: 2960

50 and female (35.5 years left)

Average reader: 426

Voracious reader: 1775

Super reader: 2840

50 and male (32 years left)

Average reader: 384

Voracious reader: 1600

Super reader: 2560

55 and female (31 years left)

Average reader: 372

Voracious reader: 1550

Super reader: 2480

55 and male (28 years left)

Average reader: 336

Voracious reader: 1400

Super reader: 2240

60 and female: 86 (26 years left)

Average reader: 312

Voracious reader: 1300

Super reader: 2080

60 and male (23 years left)

Average reader: 276

Voracious reader: 1150

Super reader: 1840

65 and female (22 years left)

Average reader: 264

Voracious reader: 1100

Super reader: 1760

65 and male (19 years left)

Average reader: 228

Voracious reader: 950

Super reader: 1520

70 and female (17.5 years left)

Average reader: 210

Voracious reader: 875

Super reader: 1400

70 and male (15 years left)

Average reader: 180

Voracious reader: 750

Super reader: 1200

75 and female (14 years left)

Average reader: 168

Voracious reader: 700

Super reader: 1120

75 and male (12 years left)

Average reader: 144

Voracious reader: 600

Super reader: 960

80 and female (10 years left)

Average reader: 120

Voracious reader: 500

Super reader: 800

80 and male (9 years left)

Average reader: 108

Voracious reader: 450

Super reader: 720

GIPHY

From this, I've garnered that I'm likely to read another 3,050 books in my lifetime — which sounds like a lot, until you think about just how many books I won't read. What if one of them would have been my favorite book of all time?! The thought is just too painful. BRB, learning to speed read.

So here's my advice: don't waste time finishing books that you don't enjoy just because you've got some strict rule about it. Life's too short to read boring books. If we play our cards right, we might be able to fill our lives with a few thousand truly wonderful books — and that thought isn't morbid at all.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include the name of the author of the original piece on Literary Hub, Emily Temple.