I've played with two separate groups (one completely inexperienced with tabletop and another from D&D.) Neither of them read the book. The game with the inexperienced session I discontinued because no one wanted to read anything (this is not a fault of Mage) - because while they were intrigued by the concept, they couldn't get into sifting through the tome to understand their character or the rules of the world (this miiiiiiiiight be the fault of Mage.)

The "sifting through the tome" is a half-and-half sentiment. I appreciate the level of information and detail in the...