China / Society

First-person account: Why I'm a man when it comes to books

By Yang Yang ( Updated: 2016-04-22 10:03

First-person account: Why I'm a man when it comes to books

A Kindle tablet that provides access to Chinese language e-books.[Photo/China Daily]

How much time do you spend on reading each day? Which do you prefer, printed editions or digital ones? Do you read on Kindle, or on your mobile phone? Do you read for work, or for fun?

Well, you can think about those questions and check the reading report of Chinese people in 2016.

In addition to the analysis of book buyers' consumption behavior, Amazon co-conducted a survey with Xinhua Net, covering more than 11,000 people in over 500 cities around China.

Although Chen Pingyuan, professor of Chinese language and literature at Peking University, pointed out that this reader sampling cannot represent the real reading situation for Chinese people, it still offers a comparative perspective for readers like myself who buy books on Amazon and read on Kindle.

The report said that over 80 percent of respondents read for at least half an hour per day, and about 40 percent read for more than one hour.

I spend two to six hours reading books and other materials each day. After all I am a reporter who writes on books and publishing industry for a living.

Eighty-four percent of the respondents read digital books, an increase of 6 percent compared to the figure in 2015. And for the first time Kindle has overtaken mobile phones as the most popular digital reading device.

I take my Kindle with me everywhere. On subway, I indulge myself in the world of fiction, but on trains, Kindle becomes a good hypnotist. Five-minute reading will lead me into a good dream. I don't read that much on my cell phone because of the bad Internet.

Readers are more likely to finish a print book compared with a digital one, and for digital readers, the more expensive the book is, the more likely they will finish it.

It's true. I bought more than 150 print books and finished reading about 50, but I got 150 digital books on my Kindle, and there are more than 120 that I never touched. I sound like a pride emperor that owns many concubines, don't I?

Compared with women, men prefer to read books rather than information on social media. Men read more for professional reasons, while women read more for fun.

My friends always say that I think like a man. But I have to admit that as a reporter it's horrible that you only read books even if it's your job. You have to get the latest information as early as possible. So I spend a lot of time on Weibo, Wechat and other social network media.

In terms of age groups, people born in the 1960s and after 2000 spend more reading time on books rather than social media, compared with people born between 1980 and 2000.

Due to different needs at different ages, people born in the 1960s prefer books about social science and philosophy, people born in the 1980s like reading books about economy, management as well as pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, and people born in the 1990s who just left university and start a work love literature and self-help books.

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