Four out of 10 Korean adults did not read any books in the past year, according to a survey released by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Monday.

In a survey of 6,000 adults and 3,329 adolescents, about 40 percent of adults said they did not read any books, while 59.5 percent of them read at least one book (excluding textbooks and magazines), down 5.4 percentage points from 2015. This is the lowest figure since the same survey was first conducted in 1994, when 86.5 percent of respondents said they read at least a book a year.

As for teenagers, most of them or 91.7 percent said they read more than one book a year.

Most respondents cited "lack of time" as their biggest reason for not reading books, followed by spending more time with mobile phones or playing online games. Otherwise, they simply do not enjoying reading.

In contrast to the falling popularity of paperbacks, electronic books have grown in popularity as 14.1 percent of adults and 29.8 percent of teenagers said they are avid readers of online content.

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