'Real' books gain popularity over digital alternative

Resurgent book reading is getting more attractive to readers, according to the city's annual reading report released on Thursday.
Shen Xinyi / SHINE

More and more people are turning back to reading real books, according to the city’s annual reading report released yesterday.

The study by the Shanghai Press and Publication Administration, released at the 2017 Shanghai Book Fair, surveyed 4,685 people, including 2,992 online. The number of readers who choose digital devices as their first option fell for the first time in three years.

About 46.6 percent of respondents said books were their first option, while the proportion favoring digital was 21.4 percent. It was the first time the gap widened after two years of narrowing.

Those who spent more time reading books also increased 3.17 percentage points after two years of decline. And those who spent more time on digital reading fell 7.16 points from last year. 

In addition to changes in readers’ tastes, the resurgence of book reading is also partly due to the city’s increasing number of book stores, said Wu Donghai, director of the authority’s policy and regulations department.

“With more book stores coming back and the increasing number of reading events held in the city, readers may feel more related to the books,” Wu said.

The report also said that more people are spending less time on newspapers and journals.

And as part of this year’s Shanghai International Literary Week, a 10-hour reading relay will be held in nine key literary venues in the city from 9am to 7pm on August 17.

More than 20 guests, including award-winning writer Jin Yucheng and critic Li Jingze, will read extracts of classic literature.

The readings will start at the Shanghai Book Fair and move on to other venues, including former residences of the city’s literature masters such as Ba Jin and Eileen Chang. The event will also be broadcast online.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

People read in Pudong Library on July 23. 

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