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Sit on the Toilet and Read 10 Books per Year (or How to Make the Best Out of a Sh!%ty Situation)

Jan 06, 2020 | Posted by Bobby in Articles

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20 minutes.

That’s how much you need to read per day to reach your goal of 10 books read in a year.

Most of us spend that time on the toilet every day. And when we do, we browse mindlessly through the Instagram feed or the Reddit “Popular” tab, as I do.

Yes, that’s it: 20 minutes per day.

And 20 minutes is the time if you read well below the adult average reading speed. And you don’t read every day of the year. Just around 10 months out of 12.

If you read on the higher range of the average and you read almost every day of the year it will take 10 minutes or less. This gives you enough toilet time to also browse Instagram and Reddit, so what’s your excuse? If you want to calculate your daily reading you can use this calculator I’ve put together.


And you really tell me you don’t have the time to read? Really? REALLY??

In case you want to know what data and what values I used, here they are:

Reading speed:

150 words per minute. The average speed of reading for an adult is 200-250 words per minute, as mentioned here. I used a conservative number because it’s easier to go up from here if you think your reading speed is higher. I read on average about 300-350 words per minute, so I would probably read a book in about half the time. I tested my reading speed at Free Reading Test and here’s a screenshot I’ve taken:

Page length:

Most books have around 250-300 words per page (I found this information here and it seems true). I’m using 300 words to be conservative, again, in my calculations.

Book length:

An adult book is about 300 pages (90,000 words). There are longer and shorter books, of course, but I thought it is a good average to use in my calculations. My experience with non-fiction books is that, with the exception of biographies, they are around this size.

Time spent on toilet:

On average, a man spends about 15 minutes a day on the toilet, while a women spends around 12-13. That’s in the UK, though, where it’s cold in the bathrooms. I feel that, based on the people I know well enough to know their toilet habits, it’s actually more than 15 minutes per day. Anyway, I chose a 20 minutes period of time because I assume that if the book is good enough, you will stay 3-4 minutes more just to finish a chapter.

Here it is, then, the calculation:

  • 10 books have 3,000 pages and 900,000 words.
  • 900,000 words take 6,000 minutes of reading. Or 100 hours of reading.
  • A year is 365/366 days. Let’s take 300 days, to give you some time off.
  • 100 hours of reading in 300 days means you need to spend 20 minutes per day reading.

The better result is based on 250 words per minute and 360 days per year:

  • 900,000 words take 3600 minutes of reading. Or 60 hours of reading.
  • If you read 360 days per year, you will need to read 10 minutes every day to read 10 books a year.

That’s it. You have 20 minutes per day to read 10 books per year, right? Or start smaller: read 10 minutes per day to read 5. It’s a start!

And go here and vote in the poll to let us know how many books you want to read in 2020.

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