Another survey has shown that Norwegians tend to be avid readers. And it’s not just during holiday periods like now that they’re likely to settle down with a book. Reading is a popular leisure time activity all year long.
This week, hundreds of thousands of Norwegians are devouring murder mystery novels, good old-fashioned detective stories and what they call påskekrim (Easter crime). The Easter holidays in Norway are most associated with spring skiing, trips to the family cabin, lamb roasts and ham, oranges, and crime fiction, according to newspaper Aftenposten.
A new study called Bokundersøkelsen 2010, conducted by Norway’s publishers’ and book dealers’ associations, showed that 90 percent of all Norwegian men and 97 percent of Norwegian women had read at least one or more books last year. Fully 48 percent of the women said they had read more than 10 books last year. It’s not just crime fiction that turns Norwegians into page-turners – literature, biographies and political topics sell well, too, judging from the vast selection available in local book stores.
An “avid reader” was described in the survey as someone reading more than 30 books a year. Ten percent of Norwegian men fit that description, as did 16 percent of Norwegian women. And these figures come in a country where newly published hard-bound books routinely cost more than NOK 400 in the stores (nearly USD 70).
The study showed that not only do Norwegians read, they are most likely to choose a book when giving someone a gift. Nearly 80 percent of parents are also likely to read aloud to their children at least three times a week. Books are also the most common gift given to children.
So Norwegians seem to grow up with books. “The most important thing is that we top the charts internationally with our reading,” Randi Øgrey of the book dealers’ organization Bokhandlerforeningen told newspaper Aftenposten. “We have 640 book stores in Norway, we have book clubs and more books are being sold in grocery stores. Fewer people think books are expensive.”
The advent of electronic books and competition from other media doesn’t worry Øgrey. “Our goal is to maintain this high level, no matter what the format,” she told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).