Books

New Zealand still a nation of book lovers

The books we love and the amount of time we spend reading them.

What's on your bedside table right now? Perfume? Hair accessories? A clock? A framed photo of the one you love?

Did any of you say books? If you did then you would be one of the majority of New Zealanders who love to read. A survey by Horizon Research for the New Zealand Book Council has revealed that, for the most part, and despite the many demands and distractions in our lives, Kiwi adults still love to read books.

The research company surveyed a sample group of 2082 adults and then weighted the sample to match national demographics for age, gender, personal income, education level, employment status and ethnicity. Its findings revealed that 88 per cent of us had read or started to read a book in the last 12 months.

We make our way through an average of 20 books per year and are a loyal bunch - with almost half of us having read a book by a New Zealand author in the past 12 months. We're more likely to read books that have been adapted to TV or film and tend to go by the recommendations of family and friends. Our favourite fiction genres are crime, thriller and adventure stories, with poetry being our least favourite genre.

On the downside, just under 400,000 adults have not, or even started to, read a book in the past 12 months, with 30 per cent saying they don't have time to read, 24 per cent saying they don't enjoy reading and 16 per cent saying they feel it's easier to watch movies.

New Zealand Book Council Patron Albert Wendt ONZ CNZM says that "getting reading on the national agenda is a crucial step in breaking the poverty cycle in New Zealand. There are already some excellent initiatives out there such as the Book Council's Writers in Schools and Writers in Communities programmes, but more needs to be done. Encouraging reading, particularly reading for pleasure, is critical to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of our nation's prosperity."

The books we love most: