Diligent Danish readers are getting fewer

NEWS | 20 November 2017

The Danes’ desire to read is changing, and the use of digital media such as audio books is advancing. This is according to new figures from the Danish Book and Literature Panel’s annual report.

The report also shows that those who read fiction frequently—weekly or more often—are getting fewer. This development is most pronounced among 30 to 39-year-olds, with a decrease of 9.3 percent between 2010 and 2016. The decrease is visible among both men and women.

Reading is not about to disappear
According to the report, published for the third time by the Danish Ministry of Culture’s Book and Literature Panel, the reading of fiction and non-fiction is not about to cease.

The chairperson of the Book and Literature Panel, Stig Hjarvard, says, “Given that the public regularly expresses concern about whether reading books is coming to an end due to, for example, an increased supply of digital media and impaired reading skills. It’s interesting to see that the proportion of non-readers—those who do not read at all—is actually falling”.

In 2016, when the figures in the report were collected, the proportion of people who never read fiction was at its lowest level since 2010. The numbers show that only 17.8 percent of Danes don’t read fiction at all. 

Audio books: a big hit among Danes 
For the first time, the report can also present statistics for the production of audio books. It shows that there has been a significant growth in the supply of audio books, and online audio books in particular (i.e. those that are only available via the Internet).

According to the report, the publishers’ digital revenue for audio books increased by 27 percent from 2015 to 2016 – an increase from 51 million Danish crowns to 65 million.

More online audio books are also being borrowed from the web service of the public libraries. During the first six months of 2017, an average of 141.285 online audio books were borrowed per month. This is an increase of 10 percent compared to last year’s average. 


Read more and download the Book and Literature Panel’s annual report (in Danish)
Find the previous reports from 2016 and 2015 (published in English)
Read more about the Book and Literature Panel in Denmark (in Danish)


About the report: Based on statistics, the annual report 2017 maps how the numbers are distributed in the book industry, from the moment the book is produced until it’s in the hand of the reader. In this way, the figures take into account the entire circuit, from production, to distribution and consumption.