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Reading declines among Korean adults: poll

Art/Culture 09:00 March 14, 2020

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean adults reduced their reading volume last year, but their children greatly increased the amount of time spent reading books, a survey said Saturday.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's latest survey on the reading habits of South Koreans, adults read an annual average of 7.5 books in 2019, marking a decline of 1.9 books from 9.4 books read in 2017.

In contrast, elementary, middle and high school students read an average of 40.7 books annually, up 6.4 books from 34.3 books recorded two years ago, the survey found.

The ministry said the survey was conducted on 6,000 people older than 19 years of age and 3,000 elementary and secondary school students nationwide from October 2018 to September 2019.

A public library in Seoul (Yonhap)

The ministry said audiobooks were newly included in the latest reading habits poll, noting the average number of audiobooks listened to annually by adults and students reached 0.2 and 2.7, respectively.

Textbooks, reference books, test preparation books, magazines and comics were excluded from the survey, it added.

The annual reading rate, or the percentage of people who read more than one book in a year, was 55.7 percent for adults and 92.1 percent for students, it said.

Adults spent a daily average of 31.8 minutes on weekdays reading books, up 8.4 minutes from two years ago. On weekends, they increased average reading time 0.4 minute to 27.5 minutes per day.

Daily average reading time by students expanded by 40.1 minutes to 89.5 minutes on weekdays.

Adults read an average of 6.1 paper books per year, down 2.2 books from two years ago, while students read 32.4 paper books on average annually, up 3.8 books from 2017.

The average number of e-books read by adults increased to 1.2 per year, whereas students read 5.6 e-books on average per year, down by 0.1 book.

As for the reason for not enjoying reading, 29.1 percent of adults said they are using other content, while 27.6 percent of students said they don't have enough time due to school and private educational institutes.


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