Readers are Having a Taste for Welsh-langauge Books

30 Jan 2017

The Welsh Books Council has received a very encouraging report from a survey conducted by Beaufort Research into the reading habits of Welsh speakers.

Of the 1,005 of Welsh speakers over 16 years of age surveyed, 24% of them had read at least one book a month, compared with 19% in 2012 and 13% in 2006.

It was also encouraging to hear that the number of people reading one book a year had remained stable since the previous survey held in 2012 (44% in 2016 compared with 43% in 2012). There had also been a substantial increase in the number of people reading regularly, with 36% reading more than 10 books a year in 2016. In 2012, this figure was 28%. This was further confirmed with an increase shown in the number of people reading more than 20 books a year (20% in 2016 compared with 14% in 2012).

This survey into the book reading and buying habits of Welsh speakers was commissioned by the Welsh Books Council and held during the spring and autumn of 2016. Beaufort Research was also asked to compare the results with similar surveys held in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

"Once again, the results of this survey are encouraging," said Elwyn Jones, Chief Executive of the Books Council. "The publishing industry has faced changes recently, but this report reflects the readers' appetite for Welsh books, and the drive shown by the sector as a whole to provide a range of appealing material for them."

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, added: "I am pleased to hear about the findings of this survey which show a good proportion of Welsh speakers are regular readers. It highlights again the important role of the publishing industry in delivering the Welsh Government's Welsh Language Strategy and ensuring the long term health of the language."

The survey shows that the most popular category amongst readers is novels, thereby reflecting the investment made in the field over recent years, and the publishers' success in securing several new authors, in addition to titles by well-known names. The survey also shows that children's books are still very popular.

In addition, the survey looked at the pattern of buying Welsh books, asking also how members of the public find information about the latest publications. The importance of bookshops is again stressed as a source of information and the main location for buying books. As expected, it was found that the internet is used widely to obtain information about books, and an increase has been seen in the number of people using the internet to buy books (from 21% in 2013 to 27% in 2016).

"These surveys are very important to the Books Council and the publishing industry," said Arwel Jones of the Council’s Publishing Grants Department, "and it is pleasing to have evidence to show that the variety of Welsh books published is appealing to the readers. This is certain proof of the success of the industry over recent years."

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