South Korea
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The reading rate among Korean adults is at an all-time low. Photo: Yonhap

40 per cent of South Korean adults didn’t read a book last year

Work cited as the main thing that gets in the way

South Korea

By Jung Min-ho

Nearly 40 per cent of Korean adults did not read a book in the past year, government data revealed Monday.

According to a Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism survey, 59.9 per cent of adults said they had read at least one book in the past year, a 5.4 per cent fall from the previous year.

This is the lowest figure since the government started collecting such data in 1994.

Also, a growing number of people think it is unnecessary to read books. Only 59 per cent said they did not read as much as they should have, compared with 74.5 per cent in 2011.

Meanwhile, 91.7 per cent of underage students said they read at least one book in the past year other than textbooks, magazines and comic books.

Asked what makes it difficult to read books, adults and underage students said the main reason was work.