By YOSAWADEE NAMNART
Latest survey includes FB and Twitter; print media found to be most popular.
LATEST statistics show that Thais on average now spend 66 minutes per day reading, nearly double the 37 minutes they were found to spend reading two years ago. These figures were revealed at the 43rd National Book Fair held in Bangkok, which ends on April 10.
Some 78 per cent of the population or nearly 50 million people were found to be readers, and the most avid ones were between the ages of 15 and 24, National Statistic Office (NSO) director Pattama Amorn-sirisomboon told the press at the Queen Sirikit National Convention.
Habits of youth
The youths spend approximately 94 minutes reading daily, while children under the age of six spent 71 minutes, working age people spent 61 minutes and the elderly 44 minutes, Pattama said, citing results of the latest survey.
The survey was conducted by Thailand Knowledge Park (TK Park) and NSO on 55,920 households from May-June 2015.
“Judging from these statistics, people should forget the idea that ‘Thais only read eight lines a year’, because people are actually reading a lot more and the time they spend reading is only increasing,” Wattanachai Winichakul, chief of TK Park’s academic department, said.
Newspapers remain the most popular reading material at 67.3 per cent followed by online media/SMS/emails at 51.6 per cent, the study said. The top three subjects that people read are news, general knowledge and entertainment. It was also reported that 96.1 per cent of the respondents read traditional media such as books and newspapers, while 55 per cent opted for digital media, which suggests that Thais still prefer reading printed material, the survey showed.
As for the 14 million people who do not read, the reasons cited were preferring to watch TV (41.9 per cent); lack of time (24.6 per cent); dislike for reading (24.8 per cent) and illiteracy (20.6 per cent).
“The most effective way to encourage reading is through family. Parents should instil the love of reading in their children since a young age so they can be naturally drawn to reading,” Pattama said. Other measures included a reading campaign at school, setting up libraries at communities, encouraging publishers to come up with interesting, easy-to-read books with appealing covers.
This survey is conducted every two years, and the latest one included reading Facebook and Twitter entries.