E-read­ing gains ground on read­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai


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.

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