Monday, July 18, 2005

The 'World's Biggest Readers'?

There's a nice little table in the Silverfish litmag about which nation reads the most. The source was the NOP website. Which country do you think came top of the list? Go look.

The answer may surprise you. As it did me.

And I'm not alone. According to the BBC website:
Indian writer and editor, Tarun Tejpal, said the survey only made sense if it excluded the high numbers of illiterate Indians.

The National Readership Survey shows more than one-third of rural Indians and about 15% of the urban population is still illiterate.

"A lot of [book reading] is aspirational, getting ahead in the rat race, getting admission into schools and colleges etc. It has less to do with reading, more to do with rote," Mr Tejpal said.

Leading columnist, Venkateshwar Rao, told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper he could not see Indians flocking to book stores.

As always, you wonder how the survey was carried out. (Sadly, no information is given on the website.)

Just as I always wonder how Frank Small and Associates arrived at estimate of two books a year for how much the average Malaysian reads when they carried out their 1996 survey for the National Library. Maybe I should go buy the book?

Now Malaysia doesn't feature at all in the NOP survey, but I'd love to know where it comes now. Is it possible that the Thais can read so much more?

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