In Japan, Reading Books Is Still a Print Affair - eMarketer

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In Japan, Reading Books Is Still a Print Affair

Even among younger readers, print is more popular

October 10, 2016

Despite the rise of ereaders and other digital reading devices, nearly half of book and magazine readers in Japan say there’s no change in the amount of time they spend reading in the past year, according to a survey from Rakuten. But nearly one-third do say they have decreased time spent reading books and magazines.

Change in Time Spent Reading Books/Magazines According to Book/Magazine Readers in Japan, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

About 20% say the time they spend reading books and magazines has increased, however, which means that nearly 70% are at least as engaged as they were last year, if not more.

Many respondents could be spending time with other types of reading, of course—like reading the plethora of digital content available on the web and mobile apps. Digital gains might not be translating into readership for books and magazines because ereaders have not taken off among most of the population.

Rakuten’s survey highlights that younger readers are far more likely to get book and magazine content via digital means: 41.3% of 20- to 29-year-olds read a combination of print and digital books and magazines, while an additional 4.1% read these publications exclusively via digital channels. Still, more than half read books and mags only in print—and older readers tend to shade even more heavily toward only reading print. Two-thirds of those ages 30 to 39, for example, read only print books and magazines.

Print vs. Digital Book/Magazine Readers in Japan, by Demographic, Sep 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

In total, just 24% of those surveyed say they read both print and digital; only 2% say they read only digital.

So it’s safe to say that among men and women of all ages, digital readers won’t erase print books and magazines any time soon in Japan.

May 2016 research from Mobile Marketing Data Lab reveals that 14% of smartphone users in Japan use an app on their phone to read books and magazines, a higher reach than looking up recipes, conducting finance, or running a health and fitness app. While some may be reading less, there is a strong enthusiasm for reading—especially on print—in Japan.

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