The Spanish Center for Reprographic Rights (Cedro) has lamented through its corporate website the high percentage of Spaniards who give up opening a book for all kinds of reasons. The majority declines the habit of reading due to lack of time (44.3%), although it is also relevant that the share of Spaniards prefers other entertainment (31.1%), among which mobile applications and messaging stand out. Furthermore, the simple lack of interest, without the need for other excuses, is an opinion shared by 29.7% of those surveyed. Only 1.6% of those surveyed do not read for reasons of eyesight or health. At the same time, this ‘knowledge gap’ also impacts other considerations such as educational level, gender or autonomous community.
According to data from the Ministry of Culture and analyzed by Cedro, 68% of the Spanish population acknowledges that they read in their free time, so it follows that 32% of Spaniards live with their backs to reading novels, essays, poetry or theater. Thus, and according to the Barometer of Reading and Book Purchasing Habits in Spain 2023, the Federation of Editors’ Guilds of Spain (FGEE), the percentage of people who read has remained stable in recent years, after the notable growth that occurred during the pandemic. And young people also remain the segment with the most love for reading and the most reading habit.
The comparison of the 2012 data leaves the current Spanish population in a good position, since since then the percentage of regular readers has increased by five points, although the data of a third of the population with no interest in reading persists.
Given the high percentage of Spaniards who claim to never or almost never read, Daniel Fernández, president of the Federation of Editors’ Guilds of Spain and vice president of CEDRO, proposes “doubling down on efforts to reduce these figures and that, once and for all “, it is no longer a constant that one in three Spaniards does not have reading books as one of their habits, while we also increase the percentage of frequent readers.”
By autonomous communities, Those who read the most (above the country average) are those that, in general, have greater urban density —Madrid, Catalonia, Navarra, the Basque Country, La Rioja and Aragón—. Those that read the least are those with an older population—Murcia, Andalusia, Castilla-La Mancha, the Canary Islands and Extremadura.
If other criteria are taken into account, such as gender, it becomes clear that women (68.6%) read more than men (59.3%), although this gap is reducing year after year. On the other hand, the segment of the population that reads the most are young people between 14 and 24 years old, 74% of them. Furthermore, in 76.3% of households with children under 6 years of age, parents read to their children. Furthermore, around 86% of boys and girls between 6 and 9 years old read in their free time, a very similar figure for young people between 10 and 14 years old.
Cedro sources point out that “digital reading also remains stable compared to previous years — around 30%—, with electronic books, tablets and computers being the devices most used to read in digital format.
The same center draws attention to the fact that, “although the majority of readers acknowledge knowing how to distinguish when a download is legal or not, less than half of them obtained them by paying, compared to 64.6% who downloaded them for free from internet or 45.3%, who obtained them through friends or family. Likewise, the audiobook format continues to gain followers, as shown by the fact that almost 7% of the population chooses these formats, especially among people between 14 and 45 years old.