Malaysians read an average of 20 books annually, compared to 15 in 2014. Many countries would be ecstatic at those numbers. Malaysians not so much, it seems.
In 2021 Americans read an average of 12.6 books a year, down from 15.6 five years earlier. Statista has a pretty graphic and further details.
A headline in The Malaysian Reserve this past week ran:
“Malaysian reading habits encouraging, but more must be done.”
The report explains, “According to data from the interim study by the National Library of Malaysia (PNM), as of May this year Malaysians read an average of 20 books annually, compared to 15 in 2014.”
Many countries would be ecstatic at those numbers. Malaysians not so much, it seems.
PNM DG Salasiah Abdul Wahab said the “number shows that the reading rate of Malaysians is still low compared to other developed countries and still does not reach the ideal number of books that should be read, which is 30 copies a year.”
That number, presumably, from an unknown publishers association anxious to increase sales by making readers feel inadequate.
But everything suggests Malaysian readers are already doing just fine.
“The findings of the 2005 Malaysian Reading Profile Study and the 2014 Interim Study of Malaysian Reading Habits indicate that Malaysians’ reading interest has witnessed a 5% increase, rising from 90% in 2005 to 95%. The number of books read increased by 85%, which is 15 copies (2014) compared to two copies (2005). The 2014 Interim Study on Malaysians’ reading habit also found that Malaysians’ preferred reading materials were magazines (62.8%), newspapers (61.2%), books (42.4%) and comics (25.3%).”
The report continues: “The number of physical visitors to PNM increased by 137.88% in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, although the number of virtual visitors decreased by 15.42% during the period.
Based on the stated statistics, the month of January received the highest number of physical and virtual visitors.”
Head over to The Malaysian Reserve for a detailed report.