The typical Korean reader of books is a single salaried woman aged 36.7 who buys 17.7 books a year from online bookstores, and likes novels, self-help books and humanities.
In choosing her books, she pays most attention to the themes. She is curious about bestsellers but does not buy them. She has less and less time to read because of her smartphone but still finds reading paperbacks easier than e-books.
In celebration of the World Book Day on Wednesday, the Chosun Ilbo asked Kyobo Book Centre to carry out a survey of subscribers to its online store. Some 1,259 subscribers filled out an e-mail questionnaire with 30 questions from April 11 to 18.
The average age of members is 36.7, with the age group between 31 and 35 making up the biggest proportion at 226 or 18 percent, followed by those aged between 26 and 30 with 207 or 16 percent.
Those aged between 41 and 45 come a close third with 201, also 16 percent. The fourth largest group is those aged from 36 to 40, with 176 or 14 percent. Women make up 55 percent of the respondents and 54 percent were single.
Respondents spend about W200,000 to W500,000 on books each year (US$1=W1,041). They mostly read books at the weekend, for 30 to 60 minutes at a time.
The biggest enemy to reading was smartphones. Asked why they have less time for reading books, 340 or 26 percent cited smartphones, 273 or 22 percent said information is easily found on the Internet, and 68 or five percent said they cannot be bothered to read. On the other hand, 324 people or 26 percent said the time they spend reading books has not decreased.
Most people get their information about books online. The overwhelming majority -- 1,201 or 95 percent -- prefer printed books to e-books, which have less than a five percent market share in the Korean publishing market.