What Is a Reading Slump and How To Get Out of It

Reading Slump

As readers, or book lovers, we know the huge number of benefits our hobby has on our mental and physical health. But we also know just as well how stressful and mentally tiring it can be to be in a reading slump. 

Learning how to get out of a reading slump is essential for all readers out there. And while finding yourself in a book slump at some point in your life is inevitable, the good news is that there are quite many ways of getting out of it. 

That is where we come in, to help you with the best tips and tricks so you don’t waste your precious time finding your way out.

As Sun Tzu was saying over 2000 years ago, knowing the enemy and yourself will allow you to win 100 battles without having to worry about it. That is why the first thing we need to do in order to overcome the issue is to know the reading slump meaning.

What Is a Reading Slump?

A reading slump is the inability to read that has nothing to do with the book itself. It’s described as a lack of motivation, an impossibility to focus on the reading material and a complete lack of interest in reading in general. It is a reader’s worst nightmare and it represents a mental state the reader gets in from time to time for no obvious reason.

The definition of a book slump is pretty straight forward, but there is actually a lot more to it. Understanding this phenomenon in greater detail is the very first step in our journey towards getting out of a reading slump, so let’s answer some of the most common questions about reading slumps.

What Causes a Reading Slump?

Naturally, once you’ve said to yourself “I’m in a reading slump”, the next natural question to ask yourself is “Why am I in a reading slump?“. So, what causes a book slump?

There’s quite a long list of possible causes, but here are the most common ones:

  1. Boredom: probably one of the most common causes and also the easiest to overcome
  2. The book hangover: reading a book or a series of novels that are so great that you simply can’t get yourself motivated to read anything else
  3. Burnout: simply reading too much for an extended period of time can lead to a burnout causing you to simply be unable to read 
  4. Bad time management: managing your time poorly can keep you away from reading if you constantly find yourself exhausted at the end of each day
  5. Changes in your life that keep you too preoccupied: life’s not easy and we all have periods of time when things don’t go as planned or we go through changes that simply keep us away from reading.

As you can see, the causes can be quite diverse and even include some of the most common bookworm problems, which means that getting out of a reading slump will be an individual process, customized for each reader according to their needs.

Is It Normal to Have a Reading Slump?

Absolutely yes. Without a doubt all of us go through reading slumps from time to time. It is completely normal and you have nothing to worry about as long as you identify the early signs and take measures to fight back. 

How Long Do Reading Slumps Last?

Depending on the severity of the slump and the actions you take to overcome it, book slumps can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few years. 

There is no exact answer for this question, as book slumps are different for each of us. While some of us remain ignorant to the signs and simply give up on reading altogether, others learn to fight back and manage to end the slumps quickly.

How to Get Out of a Reading Slump?

Now that we know pretty much everything there is to know about this dreadful phenomenon, it’s time to start learning the best ways to get out of a reading slump. 

Like with anything, there are two things to consider: how to avoid getting in a reading slump in the first place, and how to get out of one if prevention doesn’t work or is simply overlooked for some reason.

Well, prevention may have failed, now you are in a book slump and can’t seem to pick up a book. Or even if you do, you can’t get yourself to read it as quickly or with the same enthusiasm or interest like you used to. 

Now what? Let’s see what other, more experienced readers suggest us to do to get out of a reading slump.

1. Re-Read Your Favorite Book

Going back to your all time favorite novel can help you get out of your book slump. It is your favorite for a reason and it might be the book that can remind you why you love reading in the first place. 

You might remember what life was like back when you first read it and put you in a completely different mental state, one that can allow you to start reading again.

2. Start Using a Reading Tracking App

A book reading tracking app like Basmo is the most valuable tool to prevent and help you get out or reading slumps. 

It can help you create easily manageable reading lists and even personalized ones (split based on genre for example) to prevent overwhelming TBR lists. The lists can be easily adjusted to your current reading needs or preferences. You can rearrange the title order on your reading list, go through old notes and even plan your reading sessions, all of which are great tools in preventing and ending book slumps.

Basmo App

Additionally, you can set personal goals for the number of books you read or the time you spend reading and see your progress towards reaching them.

Not only that, but the journaling feature and the option allowing you to write down your thoughts and feelings after each reading session is a great way to be mindful of your reading habits and identify the early signs of an upcoming reading slump. 

Basmo comes packed to the brim with features designed to make your reading more efficient and more fun. If you’re ever in a reading slump, simply starting to use Basmo as a reading aid will give you a completely different outlook and will help you change your mindset, allowing you to start loving to read once again.

3. Join a Book Club

Book clubs are great in general, but they are especially helpful for people in a book slump. Being part of a group with a common goal may help you find your motivation to read again. Plus, you will have a lot of people to talk about your slump with and they will perhaps be able to help out with a couple pieces of advice. 

On top of this, book clubs will give you a different book to read from one meeting to another, which can give you an extra boost to get over the reading slump.

4. Read a Couple of Pages From as Many Books as You Can

While it may seem rather odd, taking a stack of books off your shelf and reading a couple of completely random pages from all of them may be of great help. You can simply do this until something gets you hooked and gets you interested enough to read the entire book.

5. See if Audiobooks Help

Listening instead of actually reading has been reported by several book lovers as being a quick way out of a reading slump. 

Simply because listening requires less effort than reading, and because it can be done anywhere and mixed up with a series of other activities, listening to audiobooks can allow you to ride a reading slump out until it’s over, without taking a complete break from books.

6. Read in a Different Place Than You Usually Do

Switching up the location where you do your reading can give you a different mindset and a different approach to your reading habits. It’s definitely worth a try.

7. Accept the Reading Slump and Work Your Way Out of It Slowly

One of the worst things you can do whenever you find yourself in a book slump is to get frustrated and annoyed. Accept the reading slump, embrace it and start working your way out of it slowly and steadily. Getting out of a reading slump is a lot like getting out of quicksands. 

8. Read a Short Book

Sometimes reading a short, fun book can be a quick way out of a reading slump. Simply because it is an easy and entertaining task, it can be a good reminder that reading is an enjoyable hobby and can help you get back on track.

9. Reorganize Your Shelves and Reading List

They say a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. The same is true when it comes to your books and bookshelves. Reorganize your book collection, put all the titles in order, and chances are that the new layout will make you fall back in love with reading. Plus, you might find a long lost book you’ve always wanted to read but simply forgot about. 

10. Create a Routine or a Reading Schedule

Just like you need to keep your books in order, you should try to keep your entire life in order if you want to be able to get out of a reading slump or even to avoid entering one altogether. 

Setting a reading schedule is a good way to start and using a reading tracking app like Basmo is the best way to do it. You can use Basmo to select the days of the week when you desire to read, as well as the time of day. The app will even remind you of the upcoming reading sessions through notifications.

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How to Spot a Reading Slump?

Speaking of early signs of a reading slump, let’s have a look at some of the things you should keep an eye out for.

1. You Can’t Seem to Care

One of the earliest signs of a reading slump is the fact that you feel disconnected from everything you are reading. You’re no longer impressed by writing techniques, the events in the novels no longer intrigue you.

2. You Start Feeling the Pressure of Your TBR List

Constantly adding books to your reading list is usually a great thing to do. As soon as you start feeling any kind of pressure regarding the number of books you have queued for reading, it means something is wrong and you should take a step back and analyze the situation. 

If you start stressing about how much you should be reading in order to catch up with your TBR list, it could mean you’re entering a reading slump.

3. You Constantly Need to Re-Read Entire Passages

Another sign of a reading slump, usually one that is strongly connected to a reading burnout is an inability to focus on your reading. You keep forgetting where you were, you need to keep going back in order to understand what you’re reading. 

This means you could be a little overwhelmed and your mind simply isn’t in the right place.

4. You’re Easily Distracted

Distractions are something we all need to deal with and overcome in order to be able to read. The harder it gets to stay focused and avoid distractions, the closer you are to a reading slump. 

Getting interrupted from reading is something quite common, the problem is how quickly you can get back into it after being distracted. If it takes you longer than usual, you might need to take a step back and see what’s causing this.

6. You Can’t Seem to Find the Right Book

We don’t enjoy all books the same way. It’s natural to like some books more than others, but if you get to the point of starting two, three or even more books and simply giving up on them after a couple of pages because you can’t seem to enjoy them, it means you’re probably entering or you are already in a reading slump.

Tips for Avoiding Reading Slumps

Avoiding a reading slump is our first line of defense in our fight to maintain our reading habits, keeping our love for books and our hobby alive. Prevention is better than cure, as they say, so let’s see what we can do to keep ourselves from getting into a book slump.

1. Recognize Early Signs

As I was saying earlier, being mindful of our reading habits and identifying negative changes as soon as they appear is essential. As soon as you notice any of the symptoms I presented above, you should take action.

2. Switch Genres

As soon as you consider yourself entering the first stages of a reading slump, the first thing you should do is to try reading something else than you normally do. Try an easy read, a fun book or simply something that is completely unlike anything you read before. Change is sometimes good and can be the key to avoiding a messy book slump.

3. Take a Break

Another way to go would be quite the opposite of the previous suggestion. Instead of reading something completely new, you could take a break. The important thing about the break is to determine its length right from the start. Don’t take a break with an undefined length, because that is a slippery slope. Force yourself to not read anything for a couple of days and see how you feel the next time you pick up a book.

4. Talk to Others

One beautiful aspect of social media nowadays is the communities that are formed. Whether you choose subreddits or a facebook community, it’s good to talk your issues out with other members. The support you will receive will probably surprise you, as members from reading groups are usually quite quick to help a fellow book lover in need. 


Reading slumps are dreadful, quicksand-like experiences any reader will go through at least once. The important thing to remember is that getting out of them can be easy if you have the right tools and the correct mindset to do it. Basmo can be an amazing tool for any reader who is struggling to find the motivation to keep reading, so make sure to give it a try.

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Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time. 

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