Koreans are reading more books than before, but more than half of the population still read less than one book a month, according to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea it was announced Monday.
The poll surveyed 1,605 people over 18 from Sept. 15 to 22 and found that 55.4 percent of respondents do not read any books except magazines. About 15.5 percent said they read one book a month, 14.7 percent two books and 14.4 percent three books. This represents a small increase in the percentage of people who read books which stood at a total of 32 percent and 43.8 percent in 1991 and 1996 respectively.
The average number of books that people read also increased from 1.21 books in 1991, 1.5 books in 1996 to 1.59 books this year. However the number of books that people buy decreased from 1.2 books in 1996 to 0.9 this year showing that more people borrow books than actually purchase them.
The most popular genre was contemporary novels (36.2 percent), essays (17.9 percent) and historical novels (15.8 percent). The most popular author was Lee Mun-yoel (8.5 percent), Kim So-wol (3.0 percent), and Hwang Sun-won (2.6 percent). Sidney Sheldon was the most famous foreign author with Hermann Hesse and Tolstoy placing the second and the third.