The results of 2017 Readership Survey, commissioned by the National Book Development Board (NBDB), shows that a majority of Filipino respondents still read printed books. Out of the 1,200 adult respondents with ages 18 and above, there were 921 or 76.75% say they have read a printed book in the last twelve months while there 1,020 or 84.99% of youth respondents, with ages 6 to 17 years old, say they have read printed books in the same time period.
About 11.83% of adults say that they have read e-books in the past 12 months while 3.58% of them have read audiobooks. However, the results in the survey for the youth show a significant number of children and young adults reading these two digital formats. There are 23.98% children and young adults reading e-books and 15.08% who say they read an audiobook in the past 12 months.
Reading behaviors and attitudes of adults
When adult respondents were asked which book format (print, digital, audio) they spend most of their time on per month, they say that they spend 14.03 hours reading e-books, followed by both printed books and audiobooks with 9.39 hours each.
The average age of adults started reading is 8.38 (8 years old). Parents are the main drivers of a child to read with 61.33% while some adults say that their teachers encouraged them to read with 30.67%.
About 43.83% of adults say their main reason for reading is to learn more or new things while in the 2012 Readership Survey 45% said they read for information or knowledge. Other main reason for reading is to keep up with current events with 20.26%.
In the 2012 Readership Survey, Bible tops the list of the most read book genre with 58% followed by Romance and Cooking with 25% and 21%, respectively. In 2017, Bible is still the most popular with 72.25%. Picture books and storybooks for children with 53.00% is the second most popular while there are 52.08% of respondents who say they read short story for children and 48.17% say they read romance.
It is important to note that there are some differences in the book genre choices in the survey questionnaire between the 2012 and 2017 Readership Survey. The genres, picture books and storybooks for children and short story for children, were not included in the 2012 Readership Survey and were only added in 2017.
The survey shows that 82.10% of Filipinos read books by both Filipino and foreign authors are preferred by adults. In 2012, 45% of adults said they read Filipino authors only while 44% said they read books written by both Filipino and foreign authors.
Patterns of purchase of adults
About 72% of Filipinos say they are willing to spend only up to PhP199 for a book. When it comes to willingness to spend for a printed foreign-published brand new book, 34.14% of Filipinos say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below while an almost similar percentage of adults, 34.64%, say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. Roughly 26.30% of adults say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on a printed foreign-published brand new book.
Meanwhile, 34.13% of adults say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below for a printed Filipino brand new book while 34.64 say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. In addition, 26.30% say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on a printed Filipino-authored brand new book.
Adults were also asked how much they are willing to spend on e-books and 41.43% say they are willing to spend Php99 and below while 34.27% of respondents say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. About 20.56% say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 on e-books.
Youth’s reading behavior and attitudes
In the second part of the survey, respondents with ages 6 to 17 years old will be called youth or children and young adults. As in the survey for adults, the youth were also asked how long they spend reading per month, per book format. Children and young adults say they spend more time on e-books than on any other format with 14.16 hours per month. This is followed by audiobooks with 12.68 hours while they only spend 8.70 hours on print books per month.
The average age of children and young adults when they started reading is 6.9 (7) years old. Again, parents are the main drivers of reading with 72% while teachers come second with 24.25%.
Around 40.98% of youth respondents say they read to learn more or new things while 27.37% say their reason for reading is to improve their reading skills.
Among children and young adults, 72.67% say they read picture books and storybooks for children. This is closely followed by short stories for children with 71.17%. Encyclopedia, almanac, dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, and maps ranked third with 59% followed by the Bible with 55.42%.
About 79.18% of youth respondents say they read books authored by both Filipinos and foreigners. Others say they only read Filipino-authored books with 16.21% while 4.61% of respondents say they only read foreign-authored books.
Television and Facebook play big roles in influencing the youth on what to read. Accumulating 43% each, children and young adults say both television and Facebook are their top sources of information on what to read. Roughly 38.17% say word of mouth is their main source of information on what to read.
The most popular gadget used by children and young adults is Android Smartphone with 62.9% followed by desktop computer with 20.1%. While Android tablet is the third most popular gadget with 19.5%.
The survey also finds Google Play Books as the most used e-book app among the youth with 11.21%. Adobe Digital Editions comes second with 8.15% while FBReader is the third most used app with 6.03%.
Patterns of purchase of young readers
Youth respondents were asked about their willingness to spend on a book and the survey finds that their willingness to spend is same with adult respondents’ answers. About 38.86% of children and young adults say they are willing to spend PhP99 and below for a book while 36.39% say they are willing to spend PhP100-199. Around 21.35% of respondents say they are willing to spend PhP200-599 for a book.
Vast majority of adults and youth say reading is enjoyable
Overall, 94% of adults and 96% of youth say they enjoy reading. About 63.14% of adults say interesting topics encourage reading books while 43.29% of youth respondents cite the same reason. Familiar words or easy to understand books encourage reading among adults with 19.60% while only 13.51% of youth say the same. Around 30.28% of youth say illustrations and pictures encourage them to read while a minimal number of 6.59% of adults say the same.
This Readership Survey is the project of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in partnership with the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute (PSRTI). The enumeration was conducted by end of April 2018 and asked the respondent about their reading behavior in the last 12 months, referring to May 2017 to April 2018. This is the fourth in the series; past surveys were conducted in 2003, 2007, and 2012.
The Readership Survey is conducted to determine the reading habits and attitudes of Filipinos. The results of the survey will be used in determining appropriate policies, capacity-building, content development, and book promotion programs to enhance the support of the government to the book publishing industry.