Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Book Council survey: 88% of New Zealanders read at least one book in the past year

A new survey into New Zealanders’ reading habits has found that 88% of the adult population read, or started to read, at least one book over the past year, with almost half of all respondents having read at least one book by a New Zealand author in the past 12 months.

The ‘Book Reading in New Zealand’ survey of more than 2000 New Zealand adults was conducted by Horizon Research for the New Zealand Book Council, with the results to be used to ‘enhance its existing strategies for increasing the number of lifelong readers for pleasure, and for encouraging greater consumption of New Zealand fiction’. It follows a qualitative research report last year that examined New Zealanders’ reading attitudes and behaviours, and was based on 11 focus groups.

The survey found that New Zealand adult readers read an average of 20.6 books a year. Most respondents read for relaxation and enjoyment, with crime, thriller and adventure stories the most popular fiction genres, and biographies and autobiographies the most popular nonfiction genre.

Of the fiction books that had been purchased, 58% came from bricks-and-mortar bookstores and 42% were purchased online. Almost three quarters (73%) of those who purchased fiction online had purchased from offshore retailers, while 40% had used New Zealand websites such as Fishpond or Mighty Ape, and just over a quarter (28%) had used New Zealand bricks-and-mortar bookstore websites.

The results were similar for nonfiction books, with 60% purchased from bricks-and-mortar bookstores and 40% purchased online. Seventy-two percent of those who purchased nonfiction online used offshore retailers, 38% used New Zealand websites and 32% used New Zealand bricks-and-mortar bookstore websites.

In terms of format, 74% of the fiction books read by adults were printed books, 22% were ebooks and 4% were audiobooks. Just six percent of adults exclusively read ebooks for all of their fiction reading.

Of the 394,000 New Zealand adults who did not read a book in the past year, 31% said it was because they did not have the time to read. Another 24% said they didn’t really like reading, while 16% said they felt it was easier watching movies based on a book. For the 22% of adults who had read only one to three books in the past 12 months, most cited ‘lack of time’ for not reading more, as well as finding a book that interested them.

The Book Council said it plans to repeat the survey to track trends in book sales and readership. To see the report, click here.


Category: Local news