LONDON Nearly 80 percent of Britons have re-read a book, with the Harry Potter series the most likely to be picked up again, a survey revealed on Friday.
Some of the books that are re-read for pleasure are classics such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre".
But others in the top 10 include JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" as well as Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code".
People said they returned to the same books because they are fantastic stories of which they never tire, they find something new in each reading, it is comforting, they can relate to the characters and it cheers them up.
The research carried out for Costa showed 77 percent of the 2,000 readers questioned had revisited a book, while 17 percent said they had re-read a favourite more than five times.
The survey also showed 43 percent know whether they are going to finish a book after the first chapter.
Nearly a third said they knew after the first 50 pages and 4 percent claimed they could tell after the first page.
Simon Trewin, literary agent at agency PFD, said: "The public want instant literary gratification and there has never been a more important time to remind the reading public not to judge a book by its cover."
The Costa Book Awards, formerly known as the Whitbread awards, recognise the most enjoyable books of the past year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.
This year's shortlist will be announced later this month. Last year's winner was Stef Penney's "The Tenderness of Wolves".
The top 10 re-read books are:
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
6. 1984 by George Orwell
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
8. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
(Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison)