A growing number of Koreans read no books at all, while the national average has fallen to six minutes a day, according to a survey released by Statistics Korea on Thursday.

Only 10 percent read books for more than 10 minutes a day. The average annual reading rate among adults stood at 65 percent last year, a massive slide from 86.8 percent in 1994, when statistics began. Three to four out of 10 adults never read any books.

Korea already ranked at the bottom of the world in 2005 with three hours and six minutes spent reading per week, according to a survey of 30,000 people in 30 countries by pollster NOP World at the time. That is unlikely to have changed given the steep decline.

Households spent about W16,000 a month on average buying books last year, a record low for the fifth year running (US$1=W1,217). Nearly 60 percent of that was spent on school textbooks rather than books that entertain and inform adults.

Households of more than two people, which can be assumed to be families, spent W16,623 a month on books, down from W21,902 in 2010 even as the price of each book rose.

And 58.2 percent of that went on reference books (W9,025) and course books (W646) and a paltry W6,952 on novels or other cultural books.

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