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85% of Tunisians have not read a book in the last year

Image of teachers delivering a school lesson in Tunisia [Ryan Whitney/Flickr]
Teachers delivering a school lesson in Tunisia [Ryan Whitney/Flickr]

Some 90 per cent of Tunisians have not bought a book in the last year, a significant rise from the 82 per cent reported in 2016, according to a recent survey by Emrhod Consulting.

The study, released yesterday by the daily Assabah, revealed that only nine per cent of respondents bought a book in the past year, down from 17 per cent in 2017 and 14 per cent in 2016.

This decline may be explained by the high cost of books and the tendencies of the new generation to read fewer paper books than their older counterparts.

Some 74 per cent reportedly do not own any books at home aside from magazines, newspapers, school books and the Quran and 85 per cent of those surveyed say they have not read a book in the last year compared to 76 per cent in 2017.

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As more and more people scroll the internet than choose to read books in order to get information, 55 per cent of those surveyed believe that the internet will replace books by 2030 compared with 29 per cent who believe books will still be used.

According to the Arab Reading Index published in 2016, the average Tunisian spends only 50 hours a year reading ranking Tunisia behind Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Though Tunisians prefer to read books in Arabic, online they prefer to use French or English.

The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has made reading its focus since last year with public libraries one of its main concerns through the programme "Tunisia: City of letters and books".

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