New chapter pushed as word gets out that many dont read books

Top News | Jane Lam 20 Apr 2017

One-third of Hongkongers do not read one book in a year, a survey found.

It is the second year the Hong Kong Publishing Professionals Society conducted the poll aimed at influencing cultural and educational policies.

A total of 1,498 phone interviews were made - of which 32.4 percent said they do not read even one book a year. Among those aged under 18, nearly 60 percent said they have never developed the habit of reading.

Two-thirds habitually read online, but they mostly go for news, news commentary or social media instead of reading electronic books, which are read by only 10.9 percent of web users.

Some 55 percent of those who read are willing to purchase hardcover books, which they prefer over ebooks.

Those aged 31-40 and above 60 have the lowest acceptance toward ebooks.

Despite preferring hardcover books, only a quarter of the readers spend more than HK$500 on books a year.

The swaying factors in buying a book are its attractive theme and content. Only 2.6 percent think price is an important factor.

The younger generation consider reading as entertainment and a means to relax, while those aged above 41 prefer books with functions, such as health care or recipe books.

"To educate the next generation and promote the importance of a reading habit, parents and school teachers should take part in a reading activity with the children," said Sun Wai-ling, an author of children's literature.

"Children yearn for entertainment and a relaxing read should be the answer to developing the habit.

"After they have built a habit of reading, teachers and parents should slowly introduce different genres to the young readers."

In order to promote reading among Hongkongers and celebrate World Book Day on Sunday, the society has organized a reading campaign on Facebook - "Reading For All."

Participants can post photos on the page with the hashtag #readingforall. The society is hoping that each Hongkonger will read at least one book a year.

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