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The French read less in 2020

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                The Covid-19 and health restrictions have helped push back reading in France.  Some 14% of French people have not read any books in 2020. The elimination of transport times and the increase in household chores, especially for women, have had an impact on the decrease in book consumption.

                                    <p>Reading is declining among the French, in part because of the confinement periods imposed by the Covid-19.  Some 14% of them have read no books in 2020, and 25% have not bought a new one, according to a study published Tuesday, March 30 by the National Book Center.

“Despite reassuring market dynamics for the book sector, we are seeing an overall decline in the number of readers”, commented in a press release the president of this public establishment, Régine Hatchondo. The CNL deplores “a drop in reading, certainly linked to the constraints imposed by the health crisis”.

The study is carried out every two years by the Ipsos institute, and its results traditionally published before the opening of the Paris Book Fair. But this event was canceled for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Fewer novels, more topicality

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According to the survey carried out in January among 1,000 people aged 15 and over, 86% of French people have read at least one book in 2020, or 8 points less than in 2018.

“The French probably wanted to better understand the world and to decipher the crisis we went through: they read more books of reports and news (essays, biographies …), but fewer novels (-7 points) and how-to books (-7 points) “, according to the National Book Center.

“The decline in reading is on the trend: it has been observed for about ten years, especially among young people. So it is not linked only to the health crisis,” said Régine Hatchondo, presenting the results of the online survey.

Readers busy with “household chores”

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But the year 2020 was very special, with “the rise of so-called utilitarian books (…) to the detriment of the pleasure book”, she added.

The survey revealed unfavorable conditions for reading, according to Ipsos, with “the contraction of time” which can easily be devoted to it (public transport, bedtime), the increase in the time devoted to household chores. , especially for women who are the greatest readers, or even a “blurring of the border between private and professional life”.

Finally, the health crisis has disturbed the psyche of the French. “We cannot have the same relationship to reading as before the pandemic when we are in this state of mental health,” said Étienne Mercier, director of the opinion and health pole at Ipsos.

Respondents are 75% (-7 points) to have bought at least one new book, 34% (-7 points) to have bought used, and 68% (-9 points) to have been loaned or to offer.

Their preferred point of sale remains the bookstore (80% of buyers), ahead of specialized supermarkets (67%), the Internet (39%) and supermarkets or hypermarkets (39%).

With AFP


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