Frau Bovary EBook_Reader_Tolino_Vision_-_AnschlüsseThere might be a kind of hush all over the world tonight, but with apologies to Herman’s Hermits, it’s more likely because people are busy reading e-books instead of being lovers in love. It appears e-book use is on the rise in Europe, Russia, Africa, and Asia.

At Good EReader, Michael Kozlowski aggregates survey information from Germany, Poland, the UK, and Russia to note that e-book purchases there are up considerably over the last few years. 25% of Germans read e-books on a daily basis in 2015, slightly up from 2014. The Polish e-book market grew by 28% in 2013, and by strong single digits since then, though Poland’s high 23% e-book VAT is hindering their adoption there. E-books account for 30% of all book units purchased in the UK—though as much as 95% of those sales may be for Amazon’s Kindle. In Russia, 44% of the 1,600 readers Deloitte surveyed preferred e-books over print, and 88% of respondents between 16 and 19 years old had tried them.

Meanwhile, Publishing Perspectives reports that global literacy organization Worldreader has released a report on the top books read by children and adults on mobile devices as part of its program. The report shows that more than 6 million children, adults, and families across Asia and Africa read more than 17 million hours on their mobile phone apps and Kindle e-readers. It also includes lists of the most popular books by reader demographics and book categories.

The really interesting thing about the report is that the most popular books for men and women tend to be remarkably similar. In fact, though they were in different order, 4 of the top 5 books were identical across both lists. They tended to be romance and sexual health guides, plus the King James Bible.

As Worldreader points out, given societal constraints and the idea of what’s appropriate for men to read and what material is considered “not feminine,” it’s interesting to see that men’s and women’s taste as being so closely aligned until you consider this: reading on mobile phone offers a private reading environment – on your device, nobody can see what you read.

Nobody, apparently, except Worldreader.

Another interesting thing is that four of the top ten fiction books donated by US publishers were self-published—but none of the top ten non-fiction books were (though one was published by Amazon). Of the nine top authors, five were from the US, three were from the UK, and only one from Africa. Four of the authors were romance novelists, whereas all five of the others were in different categories.

The only thing that puzzles me about the survey is that if six million people read for 17 million hours, doesn’t that mean each person read for an average of less than three hours over the course of the entire year? That doesn’t sound like a lot to me. But maybe the statistics were counted in some odd way that didn’t break out all the reading time individually.

Regardless, it’s interesting to see that e-books are becoming more popular all over the world—including places like Africa where access to a huge e-book library can be useful in a number of ways.

Image credit: Here.


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