Britain leads the world in publishing but lags behind when it comes to actual hours curled up with a bookby Sameer Rahim / November 13, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Unread tomes are piling up
The land of Shakespeare is proud of its literary heritage, and Britain still leads the way with 2,875 new titles per million people published each year—putting it top of the world table. But we lag behind when it comes to reading, just over five hours a week (bad, but not as bad as Germany). India leads the way with over 10 hours per week, a total that popular printed newspapers may flatter.
But back in the UK, are books becoming something to own rather than use? The e-book revolution is slowing, with sales of printed books making a comeback. But how many are really being read? Not many if library attendance is any guide. Cuts and closures won’t have helped, but the proportion of adults attending a library has crashed by a third over a decade.