Icelanders read 2.3 books a month on average

New reading survey conducted by the Icelandic Literature Center shows that Icelanders read on average 2.3 books a month and two thirds of the nation have gifted a book in the last year.

19. November, 2021

The numbers show that Icelanders still read quite a lot and people are interested in reading. However the number of people who do not read at all is increasing. 

A new reading survey made by the Icelandic Literature Center in collaboration with six institutions within the literary sector in Iceland shows that men read fewer books than last year and younger people read less than older people. This is the fifth time the Center has conducted a reading survey and the results are  published on the Day of the Icelandic language, November 16th. 


Picture 1: "How many books have you read in the past 30 days?" 


  • Men read fewer books on average this year compared to last years, 1.5 books a month, while women read the same amount, 3.1 a month.
  • 68 percent of the nation have gifted a book or books in the past 12 months. 
  • Young people, age 18-24, read significantly less than other age groups and read less than the years before. 
  • Audiobooks are equally as popular as last year, but then their popularity had increased from the year before.

Mynd-2Picture 2: How often have you listened to audiobooks in the last 12 months? 


  • 79% think it is important that Icelandic literature is funded by the government. 
  • 58% read more often or only in Icelandic than in other languages. Mynd-3

    Picture 3: "Do you read in Icelandic or another language?" 

 You can take a look at the full survey in Icelandic here.

The survey was conducted in a cooperation with Reykjavík City Library, National and University Library of Iceland, Hagþenkir: the Association of Non-fiction and Educational Writers in Iceland, The Icelandic Publishers Association, Reykjavík City of literature UNESCO and The Writers' Union of Iceland. 

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