Friday, July 22, 2005

Reading around the world: some notes

Through LIS News, I found an item reporting that Russian's Love Affair with Books is Fading. In LIS News, Blake points to an article from the St. Petersburgh Times that reports on Russians reading less. The article opens with the following statistics:

37% of Russian people never read books
52% of them never buy books

The article gives various reasons for these numbers. Some of the reasons may seem familiar to us, such as competition from the internet and television. The head of the Reading Center at the Russian National Library is quoted as saying, ". . .we, as librarians, have an interest in our readers taking an interest in serious literature, which makes them think and speculate, not just relax." This comment is in the context of the report which states that people who may be short on time and working a lot prefer to read literature that is relaxing. I personally wonder what some readers' advisors would have to say about that. And I am not even getting into the whole "give them good constructive stuff versus give them what they want" debate. Overall, I think the article is well worth reading.

For readers into the Harry Potter phenomenon, El Clarín reports from Argentina that the English edition of the new Harry Potter book is the number one seller there. This is significant because it marks the first time that a foreign language book is at the top of all Argentine bestseller lists. Buyers have been collectors who wanted a copy but will never read it in English, those who follow Harry's saga who will also buy it in Spanish when it comes out, and those who do read in English. According to the headline, the Spanish edition will not be available until January 2006. There is also this other article reporting on the initial book sales overall around the world. Articles are written in Spanish.

No comments: