Mumbai, November 25, 2015: ‘There is nothing like first-hand evidence’ believed legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. Voted as the most desirable fictional character in the Tata Literature Live! Survey 2015, his words come to life with the plentiful facts revealed in this nationwide survey.

Designed to understand the preferences, habits and quirks of the Indian reader, the survey – now an annual property of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest– observed interesting patterns based on the responses from 2414 literary enthusiasts across the country.

Though India has the third largest internet-using population[1] in the world today, physical books have scored over online versions in terms of popularity as per the survey findings. Majority respondents at 82.28% still prefer to read printed books over e-books.

In the never-ending desi v/s videsi debate, 55.72% respondents favour international authors. However, our Indian counterparts are not far behind with 44.28% respondents preferring to read them. Men, however, appear more patriotic – of the 1026 respondents that prefer Indian authors, 78% are men and 22% are women.

German literary legend Franz Kafka once pointed out, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us”. So, what form of literature is thawing the hearts of Indian readers? Novels win hands down with 62.65% respondents choosing it as their favourite form of literature followed by short stories (28.26%), essays (4.72%), poetry (2.84%) and plays (1.54%).

So where does all this reading happen? 81.02% respondents say the bed or the couch is their favourite spot for reading a book.

Reading a book nurtures your soul, but reading a book with the right kind of accompaniment heightens the pleasure. Not surprising then, that tea/coffee is the best companion for about 47.34% avid readers compared to munching on crisps/nuts (31.32%), listening to music (15.61%) and sipping a glass of wine (5.73%). Of the respondents that picked wine as their best accompaniment to a book, majority lie in the age group of 26-35 at 51.22%.

We saved the best for the last like the climax of your favourite mystery novel – Who is India’s date fantasy? The legacy of Sherlock Holmes lives on as confirmed by the survey, with majority respondents (38.46%) voting the detective as their most desirable fictional character. Majority female respondents wish to date Holmes (53.14%) followed by Rhett Butler (21.99%) of Gone with the Wind. Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice was voted by most men (30.98%) as the fictional character they would like to date. As an audience often drawn to fantasy and adventure in their choices of entertainment, it is no surprise that Game of Thrones protagonists Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen emerged favourites especially with the millennial segment (20-25 & 26-35).