People are now reading less in China. The news came at the first China Publishing Industry Development Strategy High-level Forum held in Beijing on August 17.
Yu Min, vice director of the China Publishing Science Research Institute announced the results of the institute's latest research. This showed that in 2003, the reading ratio for books stood at just 51.7 percent, 8.7 percentage points lower than in 1998. Meanwhile the ratio for magazines was 46.4 percent, an even greater drop on the 57.0 percent recorded in 1998.
"The new faster pace of life is the main reason for the continuing decline in books and magazines," said Yu Min. "Opting out on reading is now less closely related to the level of educational attainment than previously. People are just too busy with their work or in studying to find time for reading. Another reason for the decline in popularity of books and magazines is the greater variety in the types of media now readily available due to the rapid pace of economic reform. This has diluted the market for traditional print media.”
Meanwhile, the research also indicated increased interest in reading material that offers practical benefits in the struggle for survival in an increasingly competitive society. What's more, although those surveyed still placed Books that increase knowledge and broaden outlook as their first choice, the category is continuing to lose support year on year. People are also becoming more inclined to turn to titles matching their personal interests or in the fields of recreation and entertainment.
(China.org.cn by Wang Qian, August 23, 2004)