E-reading gains ground on readers
The Shanghai Book Fair has released the results of a public survey for people’s reading habits. The latest findings reveal that e-reading is growing in popularity and that most of it is done via mobile devices.
The survey polled 4,675 respondents who were aged seven and above, with the majority being men (51.26 percent). It was designed to provide more accurate information to administrators, publishers and other industry insiders.
While the majority of readers still favor the print medium as per previous years, the discrepancy has now become smaller as the number of people who picked digital books as their first-choice for reading grew by 3.52 percent. People are spending more time reading digital content too, although 68.4 percent of them believe print books make for better reading materials.
Shanghai has the thirdlargest number of digital readers among Chinese cities, according to Peng Weiguo, vice director of the municipal administration of news and publication. “It is interesting and worth further investigation as to why reading on paper has won higher support between 65-71 percent of people in Shanghai,” he said.
He noted that e-books have advantages such as being easily accessible and are low cost or even free, while also having disadvantages such as being able to cause visual fatigue, hence making it unsuitable for prolonged reading or editing.
In addition, the survey found that there is an increasing willingness among readers to pay for digital books, and 70.87 percent of the people said they had bought the print versions after reading the digital edition first. Six percent of the respondents said they spend more than 1,000 yuan per year purchasing books. However, the majority of the public (57 percent) still choose to read free e-books only.
The survey also discovered that people prefer buying books online than from brick-and-mortar bookstores, despite the continual support and subsidies provided to bookstores over the past few years. According to Peng, online shops have become more popular because of low costs and discounts but the government will continue to do its part in ensuring physical bookstores don’t become extinct.
“The government has a mission to find new ways to successfully manage its bookstores. This is part of Shanghai’s cultural development efforts,” Peng said.