Habit of reading in China expands with mobile tech

By Mei Jia ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-04-19 11:05:45

Habit of reading in China expands with mobile tech

[Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese people, on average, read eight books in 2015, a small increase over previous years that may be attributed in part to mobile technology.

The Chinese Academy of Press and Publication issued its findings about reading on Monday-ahead of World Book Day on Saturday-after a survey of Chinese reading habits.

It's the academy's 13th survey since 1999. This one gathered responses from 45,911 people from 81 cities and townships in 29 regions at the provincial level. Both urban and rural areas were included. Adults and minors answered different questions. To the pleasure of many, 81 percent of Chinese under age 17 have a reading habit.

"This year, we found that the rate of Chinese adults who have a habit of reading is on the increase-to 79.6 percent. Most of them are also readers of digital content," said Wei Yushan, head of the academy.

The survey also found that 67 percent of Chinese adults hope to have reading activities or reading festivals where they live.

Advancing technology has brought rapid changes in publishing and reading. In its first year, the survey asked about internet surfing habits and found 3.7 percent doing it. In 2015, it was 70 percent.

Among the average of eight books read by Chinese people in 2015, three were in digital form. Wei said, a similar survey of French readers, who took in an average of 16.7 titles in 2014, found that only about one was an e-book.

The survey indicates that online readers' major preferences are centered on urban romance, history and fantasy.

Xu Shengguo, head of the Institute of Publishing Research under the academy, said the majority of mobile readers are attracted to that type of reading, too.

"With 52 percent of Chinese adults reading on WeChat in 2015, further innovations of reading and publishing are yet to emerge, then, the text of books will be like a portal, and everything will be available, including pictures, videos and sounds, and readers can even interact with the author," Xu said.

Chinese leaders have been promoting the idea since 2006 of building a country with avid readers.

Zhou Huilin, an official from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said the government has invested around 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in free e-books for migrant workers. A total of 18 billion yuan has been allocated for the building of rural libraries over the years.

"We've found that in some rural areas, where print books are not handy for purchasing or lending, people there are reading with mobile phones."


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