Monday, September 12, 2016

Investigation into New Zealanders’ reading habits

nvestigation into New Zealanders’ reading habits has revealed that borrowing of fiction in Christchurch spiked after the 2011 and 2012 earthquakes because of an increased need for escapism in the quake-stricken city.


“Younger readers bought a surprisingly large number of books; the owning of a physical object was attractive to them. They shopped at second-hand shops and online, via Book Depository, Fishpond and Trade Me, looking for bargains.”

“The Christchurch librarian said there had been a marked increase in fiction borrowing after the quakes – ‘people wanted escapism more than ever’” 

“None of the younger readers liked e-readers – all preferred physical books. The main reason was, ‘we have so much screen time with other things, it’s nice to have a break’.

“[If] people do not, deep down, believe New Zealand fiction is enjoyable, then we may have a key part of our explanation as to why consumption of New Zealand fiction is comparatively low.” 

The report, based on interviews with focus groups around the country, is authored by Dr Paula Morris and Catherine Robertson.

It is available on the Book Council’s website It is the first phase of an ongoing research project the Book Council is undertaking in order to support the sales and readership of New Zealand books.

The Book Council will use the insights from this research to enhance its existing strategies for increasing the number of lifelong readers for pleasure, and for encouraging greater consumption of New Zealand fiction. It will also share the findings with the wider industry, including publishers, booksellers and media.


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