Reading Has Increased and Icelanders Now Read 2.3 Books per Month on Average

26. November, 2019

The findings of a new survey on reading in Iceland show that women and families with children read the most and that audio-books are growing in popularity. Young people read a lot in other languages than Icelandic and most people find inspiration for new reading material through friends and relatives.

The Icelandic Literature Center recently conducted a survey into opinions in Iceland towards reading books and other material. The results reveal that reading has increased, especially the use of audio-books. The most avid readers are women and families with children. Young people read a lot in other languages than Icelandic. A vast majority believes that public support for literature is important and it is evident that discussions about books are still alive and well, and greatly impact what people read. 

Few highlights from the survey:

  • People read 2.3 books on average, which was 2 books on average in a similar survey conducted two years ago.
  • Readers with two or more children in the home read more than those that have no children.
  • Participants aged 18-24 read fewer books than those who are older.
  • Reading of printed books is less than it was according to a survey in 2018.
  • Listening to audio-books has increased since the 2018 survey.
  • Readers between the ages of 18 to 35 read more in other languages than Icelandic than other age groups.
  • A vast majority, or 76% of participants, believe that it is important for Icelandic literature to have access to public support and funding.
  • Over half of the participants get inspiration for new reading material through friends and family.   

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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