A survey showed that the number of Chinese reading at least one book a year has been declining dramatically, as Internet draws more readers' attention from books.
The survey conducted every two years by the China Publishing Research Center under the General Administration of Press and Publication was released over the weekend to mark Sunday's 11th World Book and Copyright Day.
Among 8,000 respondents to the poll undertaken last year, less than 50 percent said that they read at least one book a year.
According to Monday's China Daily, the survey conducted since 1999 found Chinese' inclination for reading went down year by year. The reader ratio fell all the way down from 60.4 percent in 1999.
A lack of time has been cited by most respondents for the reduction of reading. However, the time spent by Chinese on the Internet has kept on increasing sharply from 3.7 percent in 1999 to 27.8 percent last year, the survey showed.
Hao Zhenxing, director of the center said that conventional reading could never be replaced by scanning the web media.
Statistics from the center suggested that more books are at readers' choice now, as the number of books published swelled from 14,987 varieties in 1978 to 208,294 in 2004.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2006)