Survey shows new reading choices

Updated: Apr 23, 2018 China Daily Print
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Reading has started to become a lifestyle choice for many Chinese, says Liu Shu, vice-president of Kindle Content at Amazon China, when she released the 2018 Amazon China Reading Report on Wednesday.

Based on a survey of 14,000 respondents and the company's big data, the report found that most of those surveyed read every day, and nearly half had read more than 10 books a year.

It also found that 80 percent of the respondents read more than half an hour per day.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Amazon China has released its reading reports.

And although the 2017 report-where about 56 percent of the 14,000 people surveyed read more than 10 books a year-seems better than the 2018 one, Liu says this is because those surveyed in the latest report comprise more of those born after 1980, who in general read less than older generations.

The proportion of people who read more than 10 books a year varied by age group, with the figures for those born in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s being 62 percent, 57 and 56, respectively.

Similarly the figures were 45, 47 and 53 percent, respectively for those born in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Those born before 1980 generally spent more time reading every day.

The report also shows that more Chinese read both e-books and printed books, with 55 percent of those surveyed falling in this category.

Nineteen percent of those surveyed read mainly on electronic devices, compared with 12 percent who wanted only printed material.

Separately, although Amazon Audible has been growing rapidly in North America in the last three years, Amazon China has yet to offer the service on the Chinese mainland.

However, the survey shows that in the last year, about 12 percent of those surveyed not only read e-books and printed books, but accessed audio books. A small number-0.24 percent-of people surveyed only accessed audio books, which means there is huge room for this genre to grow, the survey suggests.

"We are watching what the Chinese want and will offer the service if needed," says Liu.

Another trend that showed up in the survey is that Chinese people are willing to pay for reading material, amid increased awareness of intellectual property issues. And 80 percent of people surveyed paid for e-reading material in the last year.

The survey also shows that those born after 1990 tend to read more on electronic devices. And more than 80 percent of those born after 1990 often pay for e-reading material, especially e-books.

The report also reflects the revival of physical bookstores in recent years.

Among those surveyed, about 86 percent had been to physical bookstores, with nearly half of them saying they made special efforts to visit these bookstores.

Another finding in the report is that a good reading environment can promote reading, and that comfortable electronic reading devices and better reading services can also help.

Referring to a reading atmosphere, Chinese writer Jiang Fangzhou, born in 1989, says that she is easily distracted, and so usually needs to turn her smartphone to flight mode, or put it aside in a different room.

Xue Zhaofeng, an economist from Peking University, says that people need better reading environments.

"The libraries and classrooms are well designed, but the furniture is not good enough," he says.

"I think a good reading atmosphere should be a good place to sleep, a good place to buy things and eat, so that you can stay there comfortably," he says.

Besides, Xue says he has stopped posting messages on his microblog or on other social medium platforms, so that he can concentrate more on reading.

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