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Old 07-03-2013, 10:17 AM   #1
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Hours spent reading books around the world

There's a small article with some interesting graphics about the amount of time the average person spends reading books in different countries. There's countries high on the list I would not have expected there for sure. It is also surprising to see both Japan and Korea scoring very low.



Here is the article.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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I'm pretty sure Canadians are way overestimating that one.

I spend a lot of time reading books compared to everyone I know and I'd still only estimate 7 hours a week for me. Of course, our poplulation is skewed towards retirees so my mom is probably keeping the average up.

I'd like to see age breakdown in the statistics which would be more useful to me.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure Canadians are way overestimating that one.
I'd think the people that agree to participate in such a survey are probably the more avid readers. Hence, the numbers stated in the article are likely to lie above the median.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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Proud to be an American outlier, lol. I'd guess I clock around twleve hours a week but I also read much faster than the average reading speed.
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Old 07-03-2013, 11:59 AM   #5
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I wonder how accurate this sort of data can possibly be. After all, the only way the researcher can know how long anyone spends reading is to ask them. And how many people can accurately answer a question like that?

I read a lot, but I've no idea how many hours I spend reading in a typical week. In fact, the whole point of reading forme is as an escape - to take my mind of a journey, for example, or to unwind before falling to sleep at night. By its nature, it's not an occupation that I time.

I also agree with Soldim, that the people that agree to participate are probably more avid readers. If so, that would skew the result.

Finally, I see that the survey was done in 2004 - 5. I suspect many people read a lot more than they did then, if only because mobile reading devices make is so much easier.

Still, it's an interesting article. Thanks to Soldim for posting it.

Mike
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:22 PM   #6
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I've read another statistic that says something like that every German reads about 8 books per year. Combining these numbers: we must be very slow readers or read very thick volumes!
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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I've read another statistic that says something like that every German reads about 8 books per year. Combining these numbers: we must be very slow readers or read very thick volumes!
Or, spend recreation time doing other things besides reading.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:28 PM   #8
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I have read that Americans read on average 2 books a year. Must be quite a few reading 10,000 each to up the average

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Old 07-03-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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There's a link in the article that gives the stats for time spent on TV, radio, and Internet, as well as reading.

I agree with Mike L that self-reporting is likely to be highly inaccurate. The respondent might have no real idea of the time breakdown, or might be shading the answers so as to appear "better"--perhaps understate TV watching and overestimate reading.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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They must be including all the time they left the tv closed-captioning turned on while napping in the armchair.

"That's the same as 'reading a book,' right?"
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #11
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That study fails to meet basic plausibility criteria. According to the CIA World Factbook India has a literacy rate of only 61 %. Whatever the real figure may be, India obviously has a massive problem with illiteracy. Yet we are supposed to believe that of all countries people read most in India on average?
The same is true for Egypt, which also has major issues with illiteracy.
Venezuela also ranks very highly on that list. When I lived in Caracas in the late 1990s one of the most annoying aspects of living there was the extreme scarcity of bookshops in that major capital city. I am not talking about the sort of bookshop one takes for granted in cities like London, Paris or Berlin, but normal, well stocked bookshops. Finding one was like coming across a new oasis in the desert. There also was no culture of reading in public, e.g. in the parks or while riding the (absolutely first class) metro. So how are those figures supposed to add up?
This seems one of these studies where a lot of more or less trustworthy data is being added up without anyone ever taking a step back and asking if the figures are plausible at all.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:07 PM   #12
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This study doesn't seem very reliable. Leaving aside the self-reported aspect, a lot of the data doesn't seem to make sense, and it's almost a decade out of date anyway. Pretty picture, but doesn't seem to really be worth much.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:11 PM   #13
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I'm sure I spend more than 5.42 hrs a week reading. I spend several hrs a day reading on my PaperWhite so it's probably at least 28 hrs a week since I read (on average) every day of the week.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike L View Post

Finally, I see that the survey was done in 2004 - 5. I suspect many people read a lot more than they did then, if only because mobile reading devices make is so much easier.

Mike
Or they read a lot less because they spend so much time checking their smartphone or playing Angry Birds.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:24 AM   #15
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I'm sure I spend more than 5.42 hrs a week reading. I spend several hrs a day reading on my PaperWhite so it's probably at least 28 hrs a week since I read (on average) every day of the week.
So do I. For example, I woke up at 2:00 AM and was wide awake. I read until 7:00 AM finishing The Med by David Poyer. I am still awake and looking for my next read.
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