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MANILA, Philippines - I am a slow reader.
I savor the words, let phrases linger longer in the mouth.
But I read several books at a time.
Sometimes, 5 or 6. Sometimes, more.
I cannot read before going to bed because it makes me sleepy, even if the book’s a thriller.
The best reading time for me would be in the early morning, during waiting time or while on travel.
These are some of my reading habits and behavior. And if you’re a smart book writer or publisher, you will find a way to get your hands on facts that pertain to your market’s reading attitudes and practices.
If publishers and writers knew, for instance, that there is more demand for books written in local dialects, then they can (and they should) produce more books that will cater to this need.
This is the aim of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) Readership Survey of 2012. In partnership with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHIL) and Vibal Foundation, NBDB commissioned the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to conduct a survey among Filipino readers to determine reading behavior and habits.
The results were presented to an audience composed mainly of book publishers in August in Pasig.
Why the book writers were not there is a whole story on its own, worthy of a separate write-up.
Since March 2003, NBDB has been conducting what NBDB chair Flor Marie Sta. Romana-Cruz described as the “most comprehensive survey on book readership in the country.” The second survey was undertaken in 2007. This year’s survey is the 3rd one.
Sta. Romana-Cruz believed that the results of the readership survey are useful for publishers, the Department of Education, mass media and the general public.
Bible still at number 1
Linda Luz B. Guerrero, vice president and chief operating officer of Social Weather Stations (SWS) presented the results of the survey in 258 slides.
While some of the data didn’t quite reach me and I got lost in a haze of statistical jargon and technical obscuration, I believe I still managed to get the most important facts.
Here is a summary of the results of the 2012 NBDB Readership Survey:
What are we to do with these facts?
Sta. Romana-Cruz asked the heavy questions: What have we done, really, to promote reading and to package it as a worthwhile activity? How can we do a better job and move forward? How do we make reading more palatable?
(My question: Why should we? Reading is its own reward; it’s not something to be endured.)
With the kind of books we are producing (look around you and take a long look at bestsellers towers and displays in bookstores), what kind of readers are we creating?
I was chatting on Facebook yesterday with a writer friend who told me that he didn’t want to jump into the bandwagon. (He is a published, multi-awarded writer.)
I told him: At least more people are reading books, isn’t that a good thing?
What do you think? Let us know by posting your comments below. - Rappler.com
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