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Old 07-04-2013, 08:03 AM   #16
shanghaichica
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I think in Japan and Korea people spend a lot of time on the internet/using computers. Computers/internet is a lot more advanced out there than it is in the west.
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:18 AM   #17
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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?
Whilst I would certainly agree that the accuracy of these figures is only as good as the veracity of their origin—it’s hard to know how they’ve been collected and what they are based on, I disagree that India couldn’t top the list.

The literacy rate in India may only be 61%, I actually suspect it’s probably much lower than that, you need to consider that that is 61% of what is probably by now more than a billion people. That’s 610 million literate people, just under twice the total population of the USA and 10 times the population of the UK. Most of those people won't have the modern distractions those two developed countries have.

Factor in the poverty, the variable electricity infrastructure and power outages and lack of power in many rural areas, the lack of affordability of televisions, games consoles, DVDs, internet etc for large swathes of the population and it becomes fairly self evident how India could quite easily top that list.
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #18
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The Japan number is very surprising. So many people read while commuting!
Big book stores as well as second hand book stores (Book Off) are everywhere and always packed with people.
Also I've been told that when a book is a best seller, everyone will be soon reading it to be on the same level as everyone else (not said in an offensive way). And sure I have seen the same books in many hands and at several places.
Of course I can only talk about big cities, more rural areas may be different.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:36 AM   #19
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Whilst I would certainly agree that the accuracy of these figures is only as good as the veracity of their origin—it’s hard to know how they’ve been collected and what they are based on, I disagree that India couldn’t top the list.

The literacy rate in India may only be 61%, I actually suspect it’s probably much lower than that, you need to consider that that is 61% of what is probably by now more than a billion people. That’s 610 million literate people, just under twice the total population of the USA and 10 times the population of the UK.
That makes no difference at all to the average time spent reading.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:05 PM   #20
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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.
I don't know about Venezuela, but you would be surprised about India, I would recommend you to come and travel around for a bit.
Even at the time when they didn't have *many* *bookshops London/Paris?Berlin like* (rather narrow selection, don't you think?) I could find books in bookshops which I never even saw in Europe. All in English! And prices were oh so good, compared to beautiful European bookshops...I used to buy books, pay overweight when flying back home, and still get them cheaper than in Europe.
Then, you have beautiful places where you can get second hand books, really old editions, great variety, again really really cheap. And I do believe much more people, thanks to that, read one copy of the book than anywhere in Europe.
Plus, you still have (and I am talking about 10 years back) people selling pirated paper books on the streets. To the people in the cars. I would have to think that is a very good business, otherwise, there would be no street booksellers.
Then, there are all the bookstores with owners working themselves in them, recommending you books, checking books out for you, ordering for you if they don't have them, calling you to tell you the book is there.
They also since around 2007 had a company selling books online, free shipping, cash on delivery etc.
And I am just speaking from an English speaker point of view. Imagine all the other languages
It is entirely possible that India is on top. Why, they have more English language speakers than UK. I will not even comment Germany or France. So the English speakers here read a lot of books in original and do not have to wait for translation...
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:03 PM   #21
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That makes no difference at all to the average time spent reading.
I think the lack of reliable electricity supply and general affordability of modern electronic distractions such as TV, DVD, game stations and internet has a pretty big impact on the average time spent reading.

Agreed though that the lowish literacy rate is a red herring given the sheer numbers of people.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:43 PM   #22
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jmilica

I don't doubt that there are many highly cultured people in India and many avid readers. Neither do I doubt that there are many places where you can get books. There are more than a billion people living there, after all.
I also know plenty of young and well educated people from India and they are most certainly as keen on modern time wasters like the internet and mobile phones as their counterparts in the West.

All the same, the figures don't add up. It is quite irrelevant if there are 1 million, 100 million or a billion people living in a country if you are looking at the average time spent by people on reading. What's not irrelevant is 40% of the population being illiterate. This means that the rest would - on average - have to be prodigious readers to achieve those high figures. How likely is that? Additionally, do you seriously believe that the people who do a lot of reading are those who are living in shacks with no modern conveniences? Reading is a decidedly middle class occupation the world over.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:46 PM   #23
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LOL japan as low as brazil! can't be right

or perhaps they should allow for manga reading as book reading LOL
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:49 PM   #24
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LOL japan as low as brazil! can't be right

or perhaps they should allow for manga reading as book reading LOL
Japan is also the one with all the odd fads coming and going.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:00 PM   #25
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All the same, the figures don't add up. It is quite irrelevant if there are 1 million, 100 million or a billion people living in a country if you are looking at the average time spent by people on reading. What's not irrelevant is 40% of the population being illiterate. This means that the rest would - on average - have to be prodigious readers to achieve those high figures. How likely is that? Additionally, do you seriously believe that the people who do a lot of reading are those who are living in shacks with no modern conveniences? Reading is a decidedly middle class occupation the world over.
I'm guessing the illiterate were skipped completely. It's impossible to get a balanced sample unless the data is collected door-to-door. Written questionnaires ensure only literate people will respond. Telephone surveys require that the person have a telephone. Internet surveys require the internet.

I'm guessing, if we were able to trace this all the way back to the original results (which I was unable to do, but it may be out there somewhere), it may turn out to be something like "of those who participated in the following activities..." or similar.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:45 PM   #26
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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?
The only reliable way known to social scientists is by using time diaries. Surveys that simply ask people how much time per week they spend doing X are notoriously unreliable. See, e.g., how inaccurately people recall their sexual lives after only a month.[/QUOTE]

Nonetheless, I easily beat the Brazilian average. I'd guess that I spend 18-22 hours/week reading (not counting work-related reading). But I shouldn't trust my memory this much - maybe I'll do a time diary for a month or two...
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:15 PM   #27
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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.
Apache
EEK. Lately I have been solving that problem by watching made from books, made for TV movies or A&E kind of stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I love them, but after reading for several hours they will lull me off to sleep in 15 minutes or less. I have been watching Nero Wolf since March and I have still not seen it all.

Helen
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:58 PM   #28
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Googling, I have been unable to find the methodology for this 2004-2005 survey. I think that's because this is market research where the full report is expensive.

The same outfit asks different questions every year, and if you look here, on the last page, the 2012 methodology is crypticly summarized:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/99090098/2...World-Factbook

For the more affluent countries, it appears to now to be an internet survey -- or maybe they are sampling everyone and excluding those who admit not to using the internet. For the less wealthy nations, there is an "SES exclusion." In other words, they don't interview villagers or slum dwellers.

So they seem to be comparing affluent urbanites in China and India with average income people in western nations.

Totally unclear, following links from the LA Times article, is whether the time estimates are for book reading, or all reading.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 07-04-2013 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:12 AM   #29
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In other words the survey says nothing whatsoever about national reading or media habits. It ought to have been labelled "We asked a few people around the world about their media habits and here is what they answered".
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:42 AM   #30
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jmilica

I don't doubt that there are many highly cultured people in India and many avid readers. Neither do I doubt that there are many places where you can get books. There are more than a billion people living there, after all.
I also know plenty of young and well educated people from India and they are most certainly as keen on modern time wasters like the internet and mobile phones as their counterparts in the West.

All the same, the figures don't add up. It is quite irrelevant if there are 1 million, 100 million or a billion people living in a country if you are looking at the average time spent by people on reading. What's not irrelevant is 40% of the population being illiterate. This means that the rest would - on average - have to be prodigious readers to achieve those high figures. How likely is that? Additionally, do you seriously believe that the people who do a lot of reading are those who are living in shacks with no modern conveniences? Reading is a decidedly middle class occupation the world over.
Shacks? No, I don't think they asked illiterate people anywhere - why would you ask illiterate person how much time do you spend reading? It would be same like asking a vegetarian how much meat do you eat per year and then make conclusions and market research based on that.
But I do think, having spent nearly a decade in India, that people who are literate here read much more than let's say in Europe. On average, of course.
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