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Like the old joke says, books are better 'in bed'

April 22, 2011 | 11:18 am

You know that joke that shows everything's better when you add "in bed" to the end?  The same can be said for books, according to a report by Sony released Friday.

The survey, conduced in March, showed that 79% of Americans are most likely to read books in bed. That's more people choosing to read in bed than in the living room (73%), on vacation (37%) or while commuting (8%).

Sony conducted the international study with American, British, Canadian and Australian readers to commemorate World Book Day, celebrated most places on April 23. It is also to promote the Sony Reader, its longtime e-reader, although the questions didn't focus on e-books.

In addition to the where-do-you-read question, Sony asked readers which celebrities they'd like to hear book recommendations from, and which classic characters they liked the most. The results varied by country.

In most places, readers turned to comedians for book recommendations -- Ricky Gervais in England, Andrew Denton in Australia and Ellen DeGeneres in the U.S. were the most popular. Canadians said the more serious Peter Mansbridge, national broadcast anchor, and French Canadians opted for singer Celine Dion.

Americans, Canadians and Australians agreed on their most favorite character in literature: Sherlock Holmes. England, perhaps uncharacteristically, went for more flash: its readers said James Bond.

In one regard, Americans' preferences stood out from the rest. While Winnie the Pooh is on top in most countries surveyed, only about one in 10 U.S. readers said A.A. Milne's lovable bear was their favorite for children -- to which Pooh might say, "Oh, bother." Instead, 20% of Americans said their favorite books for children are those written by Dr. Seuss.

And where do they like to read them? As Dr. Seuss writes in "Hop on Pop," "Red, bed, I am in bed."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Reading in bed, with dog. Credit: Tudor via Flickr.