Book Choices That Stimulate Most Romantic Interest

New study reveals the book choices that stimulate the most romantic interest – with men who read Richard Branson flying highest in the love league! 


  • Men who list reading as an interest receive up to a fifth more messages via online dating, with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo drawing the most interest, and Harry Potter the least
  • Female readers see the biggest increase (44%) in messages from The Hunger Games while passion killers include the Bible and, ironically, saucy saga Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Bizarrely, men who say they enjoy reading books by Richard Branson receive a whopping 74% more communication from women


It’s a truth that may sound stranger than fiction, but new research reveals that our favourite books can actually make us more (or less) attractive to the opposite sex.

Ahead of World Book Day (April 23rd), the relationship experts at eHarmony mined site data to find the most frequently occurring book titles in user profiles. They then mapped this against the number of communications received.

Overall, men who say they enjoy reading receive 19% more communication from women. However, women who claim to enjoy reading only receive a modest 3% bump in communication.

When it comes to authors, a surprising trend emerges: mentioning that you’ve enjoyed a book by Richard Branson dramatically increases the number of messages you receive. The effect is most pronounced for men, who receive a whopping 74% more interest, with those holding the ambitious billionaire as a role model presumably seen as a good bet for the future. Women also see a 19% increase in interest by namechecking the Virgin mogul.

Table 1: Popular authors with the biggest impact on online dating communications




Difference in number of messages received from women


Difference in number of messages received from men

Richard Branson


Richard Branson


John Grisham


Stephen Fry


Dan Brown


Dan Brown


Lee Child


Terry Pratchett


Dean Koontz


Dean Koontz


Stephen Fry


John Grisham


James Patterson


James Patterson


Stephen King


Lee Child


Terry Pratchett


Agatha Christie


Clive Cussler


Danielle Steel


 Across both genders, reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo results in a significant increase in communication, jumping up 36% for men and 31% for women on average. Women who read The Hunger Games also notably see a huge 44% increase in messages received while 1984 increased male popularity by a fifth (21%) (see table 2).

For women, the Harry Potter series, Fifty Shades of Grey and Pride and Prejudice top the charts as the most mentioned on profiles, while for men, fantasy leads the way with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings most commonly named as favourites.

The research also uncovered the books most likely to be passion killers. Men who list Harry Potter books as a favourite get 55% fewer messages, while women who reference saucy saga Fifty Shades of Grey receive 16% fewer messages.

Interestingly, these ‘negative impact’ books are also the ones that we are most likely to lie about having read. When fibbing about reading habits to impress a potential partner, Harry Potter was the most common lie, followed by Fifty Shades of Grey. Weightier tomes The Bible and War and Peace also made the top four while The Great Gatsby placed fifth1.

Looking at the correlation between personality traits and an interest in reading, bookworms were found to be significantly more intellectually curious and have greater ease forming open and trusting relationships with others. 

Male readers also tended to value monogamy more than non-readers while female readers actually have more adventurous character traits than their less bookish counterparts.

Rachael Lloyd, spokesperson for says: “While you should never judge a book by its cover, reading choices can say a lot about who you are as a person. It’s hugely fascinating to see that men who list Richard Branson books as favourite almost get two thirds more interest from women. This is presumably because Mr Branson represents intelligence, a thirst for adventure and success. It’s also ironic to see that women who list Fifty Shades of Grey as a book choice might unknowingly compromise their romantic appeal. Whatever your preference, an interest in books often goes hand in hand with intellectual curiosity, just one of the key personality traits we use to match people at eHarmony, giving them the best chance of happy, long-lasting relationships.” 


Paula Wynne is the founder of Book Hub. She started Book Hub out of a need to market and promote her own fiction. As well as running Book Hub, Paula is an author with several published books.

Paula's Writers' Resource Series features the following books: Pimp My Fiction: How to Write a Novel with The Ultimate List of Creative Writing Books to Create A Plot & Build Character; A~Z Writers’ Character Quirks: A~ Z of Behaviours, Foibles, Habits, Mannerisms & Quirks for Writers’ to Create Fictional and 101 Writers’ Scene Settings: Unique Location Ideas & Sensory Details for Writers’ to Create Vivid Scene.

Find out more about the Writers' Resource Series here. If you would like to find out how to write a bestselling novel, download a free copy of Paula's Pimp My Fiction.

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