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Printed books still charm readers

By MEI JIA | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-28 09:46

Though e-books and online reading have gained popularity in recent years, the annual report on the reading habits of Chinese people last year showed that more were willing to pick up physical copies of books.

On World Book Day on April 23, the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication released its 18th annual report on the reading habits of Chinese people.

Wei Yushan, director of the academy, says the survey covered 167 cities and towns spanning 30 provincial-level administrations in the country. With algorithmic analysis on the samples collected from both urban and rural areas, Wei says the report can represent a large section of the population.

Based on survey and research ranging from September last year to April, the report estimates 81.3 percent of adult Chinese have a habit of reading-be it on print, mobile phones or other digital devices, increasing slightly by 0.2 percent from 2019.

Last year, the adult Chinese read an average of 4.7 printed and 3.29 digital books. The figures are a slight increase from those in 2019, where it was 4.65 printed books and 2.84 digital books.

It also shows that 43.4 percent of adult Chinese tend to read printed books-6.7 percent more than that in 2019, and 33.4 percent of respondents said they preferred to read on mobile phones.

The report stated that only up to one-third of adult Chinese felt they were satisfied with the number of books they read in a year. However, figures show otherwise. Last year, 11.6 percent read more than 10 printed books, and 8.5 percent read more than 10 e-books, increasing respectively by 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent as compared with that in 2019.

"After the COVID-19 outbreak, people found themselves having more time to read, and they found their affection for printed books return a bit," says Xu Shengguo, an employee with the academy.

As for audiobooks, there was no significant increase found in the statistics for last year. Figures show that 31.6 percent of adults and 32.5 percent of adolescents below the age of 17 have a habit of listening to audiobooks. "The market has been growing steadily and is already quite large," Xu says.

Mobile phone was the top medium of choice to read books last year. On average, Chinese people spent 100.75 minutes a day reading on their mobile phones-0.34 minutes more than that in 2019.

Younger people still top the digital-reading category, with people aged between 18 and 49 making up the majority of digital readers. More middle-aged people are also taking up digital reading. People aged 50 and above account for 23.2 percent of digital readers, an increase of 2.8 percent from 2019.

Children and adolescents below the age of 17 read an average of 10.71 books a year, 0.35 percent more than that in 2019.Adolescents aged between 14 and 17 read the most, with an average of 13.07 books.

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