Residents of Estonia continuously take a big interest in book reading

Posted on 21 December 2010, 10:00

According to the Statistics Estonia, in 2010, three quarters of Estonian inhabitants read books. During the decade the interest in reading books has increased by a tenth.

According to the Time Use Survey of Statistics Estonia, 23% of Estonian inhabitants read books for working or educational reasons, 52% do it for other reasons. A quarter of the inhabitants have not read any books during the last year.

A fifth of the persons among working-age people (persons aged 20–64) read 1–3 books per year. About 19% read 4–7 books per year, 12% read up to 12 books and 23% read more than 12 books per year. A working-age person reads on average 6 books per year. The total amount of book readers aged 10–74 has increased mainly on account of the growth of readers who read 1–3 books per year.

89% of persons aged 10–74 read prose and 51% read poetry. Religious books are read the least. During the decade, the use of printed reference literature, encyclopaedias and dictionaries has decreased by nearly a fifth. This can be explained by wider use of the Internet and its possibilities.

About 6% of persons aged 10–74 write prose, short stories or poems in their spare time. Every week 1% of inhabitants, i.e. approximately 13,000 persons are engaged in writing.

4% of inhabitants (more than 40,000 persons) participate besides other cultural events also in public readings or meetings with the writers.

44% of inhabitants read newspapers and 9% read magazines on paper every day. During the last decade the amount of people who do not read newspapers and magazines at all has slightly increased.

According to the Eurobarometer 2007 of the European Commission, Estonia together with Latvia shares the fifth and sixth place among relatively frequent readers, i.e. among those who read more than five books a year. Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are ahead of Estonia and Latvia.

The Time Use Survey of Statistics Estonia was conducted from April 2009 until March 2010. 7,000 inhabitants participated in the Survey. The data on time use were collected using a diary-method or all household members aged 10 and older filled in the diary regarding one weekday and one weekend day. It was possible to record activities with a 10-minutes’ interval. The previous Time Use Survey was conducted in 2000.

The year 2010 was the Year of Reading in Estonia (