Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Despite slight decrease, Czechs remain among Europe’s biggest bookworms

Ostrava, Czech Republic – According to a recent study conducted by the Nielsen Admosphere agency, Czechs are reading slightly less than a few years ago, but still count among Europe’s most enthusiastic readers and bookworms.

78% of Czechs read at least one book (printed or electronic version) per year, compared to 84% five years ago. Moreover, 28% of the Czech population goes to the library at least once a year, 4 points lower than in 2013.

The average Czech adult (over 15 years old) reads 13 books a year (12.6 to be precise), meaning approximately one book per month. The study also shows that while women tend to read more than men, no strong differences can be observed between age groups. Czechs also remain strongly attached to printed books: only 4% of them regularly read electronic books, while 1% declare listening to audiobooks.

Despite the Czech Republic‘s strong literary tradition and its numerous home-grown giants of world literature (Kafka, Kundera, Havel, etc.), the most popular and best-selling books in the country are foreign, including J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Norwegian author Jo Nesbo’s novels.

Although Czechs read slightly less than a few years ago, they remain among the biggest bookworms in Europe, topped only by a handful of countries (Poland, Estonia, Scandinavian nations) with higher readerships. Contrary to popular belief – and to what can be seen in other countries – long-term reading habits remain pretty stable in the country, as Vit Richter from the Czech National Library explained to local media.

What’s also interesting is that Czechs spend approximately 0.7% of their total expenditure on books, newspapers and stationary: according to Eurostat data, this is one of the lowest rates in Europe (in Slovakia, for instance, books and newspapers account for more than 2% of household expenses).

The explanation might be found in the numerous ways Czechs can read and get books for free or on discount: libraries, gifts, loans, exchanges, second-hand stores, and even “reading hotspots” (places in the streets where people can drop or borrow a book) scattered around big cities like Prague…

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.

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