World Book Day: What books do we read most?

World Book Day: What books do we read most?

The ideal book for the Polish reader is a detective story published on paper, preferably by Remigiusz Mróz - shows the latest readership survey of the National Library, announced shortly before the World Book and Copyright Day celebrated on 23 April.

42 percent People asked as part of the National Library survey answered "yes" to the question of whether they had read at least one book in the past year. This is the best result in six years, representing an increase of 3%. per year and by 5 percent. on a two-year scale. "For now, we can talk about reasons for cautious optimism, although it is still far from the level of indicators from the beginning of the 21st century" - it was noted.

For almost 30 years, the National Library has been asking Poles to read in full or in part at least one book in the 12 months preceding the survey. In the first half of the first decade of the 21st century, more than half of the respondents declared that they read at least one book a year. The highest rate in the last 20 years was obtained in 2004 - then it was 58%. After 2008, there was a slow decline in readership to approx. 40%. In 2014, it was 41%, in 2015 - 37%, as in 2016. In the next two years, the percentage of Poles above lower secondary school reading anything was around 38%, in 2019 it was 39%.

The authors of the study tried to answer the question what Poles read and what is the relationship between reading choices and social position. It turns out that the most "democratic" type of literature, read regardless of the social position, is crime-sensation literature - the type of books most often chosen by Poles. Remigiusz Mróz opens the list of the most widely read authors for the second year in a row, and for the fourth year he is in the top five. "It is currently an unrivaled leader" - emphasize the authors of the study.

Popular romance and romance literature is a women's choice (30% of readers declared that they like them), adult fantasy (fantasy, science fiction, etc.), in turn, is read twice as often by men, especially at the age of 25. –39 years.

The study distinguishes two types of "highly artistic literature" - published before and after 1918. As might be expected, the classics are read primarily by students as part of school reading - 38 percent. the choices of such readers. In addition, it is used by the oldest readers, over 70 years of age. Henryk Sienkiewicz, who has been competing with modern bestsellers for years, is slowly losing popularity. In 2018, he was the most frequently chosen author, in 2019 he was placed fourth, and in the latest survey he fell to sixth place.

"Contemporary highly artistic literature", as the authors of the study describe it, especially the newest one, was modestly represented in the Polish reading elections in 2020. The exception is Olga Tokarczuk, who for the second time in a row, after the Nobel Prize in 1919, holds the second position of the most popular writers in Poland. Another exception is Szczepan Twardoch, who this year ranked eighth, which could have been influenced by the adaptation of his "King".

Non-fiction literature, and especially the type of books, including biographies and memories, journalism and the history of the 20th century, are more often men's reading choices. Teenage readers are not interested in reading about contemporary problems: no respondent aged 15–18 has reached for travel books and reportages, and twentieth-century narratives and biographies were also marginal in their reading choices. The latter, on the other hand, are - next to crime fiction and adult fantasy - the most interesting type of books for young adults aged 25–39. Horror films, mainly several dozen novels by Stephen King, still do not lose their fans, and he himself maintained the third place in the ranking of the most popular authors in Poland since 2018.

"The 2020 study clearly captured the readership of a novel set in historical scenery, especially during World War II, even on the subject of concentration camps. The Last War is also the subject of more serious historical, memoir and documentary reading, which enjoyed great readers' interest. there were publications devoted to the genocide in Volhynia, "the researchers write. They emphasize that in 2020 biographies of prominent women, reports on life in countries controlled by dictatorships, reports from extreme expeditions to the winter Himalayas as well as memories of Michelle Obama and Donald Tusk were popular. The BN report also captured the growing popularity of books by scientist Yuval Noah Harari, touching on many scientific disciplines and trying to answer questions about modern civilization. Harari ranks 23rd in the list of the most popular authors, which is an excellent result for popular science books.

The study showed, as in previous years, that women read more often than men (51% and 33% respectively), and the group of women who read the most intensively is also larger - 15% read at least 7 books a year. of them (in the case of men this percentage is 7%). The younger the respondent, the more likely he or she is reading books.

Having books at home is not a common phenomenon, 31% of the respondents did not have any books or only school textbooks. Home book collections are owned by 64 percent. respondents. More than half of the home book collections contain up to about 50 volumes. Relatively large collections of books - over 500 volumes - are owned by a small percentage of respondents.

As in previous editions of the survey, readers were asked, inter alia, about the form of the books they exchange, whether they were in the form of printed codes or digital files. Readers definitely prefer paper books. Books in electronic form, read from the screen of a computer, reader, phone or tablet were replaced by only 5 percent. people reading books.

As in previous years, the respondents were asked about the methods of obtaining the books they read. In 2020, Poles primarily bought paper books to read. "Compared to 2019, we observe a statistically significant (4%) increase in the popularity of purchases, so even the temporary closure of bookstores due to the pandemic could be replaced by mail order purchases" - write the authors of the study. Libraries, as a source of books read, were ranked lower in terms of popularity, 14% of them were supplied with books. readers. Although libraries were often closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, there was a relatively small (4%) decrease in the percentage of people borrowing books from them.

The readership survey also showed the size of the group of digitally excluded Poles. In 2020, almost one in four respondents aged 15 or over did not use a computer, tablet or smartphone. Apart from the digital world, there were mainly the oldest people (83% in the group over 70), with the lowest level of education, retirees and pensioners. (PAP)

author: Agata Szwedowicz

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