A higher proportion of the UK population reads books on a weekly basis than in France or Germany, according to a survey carried out for Bertelsmann by Enders Analysis.
Bertelsmann - which, alongside Pearson, is parent company to Penguin Random House – commissioned the study to explore the creative industries in each of the three major European markets.
The survey, conducted in July 2014 from just over 3,000 individuals in the three countries, found that around half of the consumers in the UK and Germany read books, with a steady 30-40% of young people regularly reading books to explore ideas and issues in detail. The UK came highest in the proportion of consumers surveyed who had read a book in the past week at 52% of the population, with Germany on 47% and France at 36%. This compared to percentages in the 90s for all three for watching TV, in the 70s for surfing the internet, and a universal 1% for attending live events.
In the UK, 40% of those aged under 29 said they read books at least weekly, rising to 54% of those in their 30s, 56% of those in their 40s, 50% in their 50s and up to 60% aged 60-plus.
Germany is noted as the "leading Creative Hub" in Europe, with 2011 data from Eurostat (the latest available like-for-like data) putting Germany as generating €49bn of Gross Value Added. However, with €44bn generated from 101,000 enterprises, at 4.6% of the non-financial economy, the UK is put as the largest creative industry sector in Europe in per capita terms. France generated €35bn.
Employment numbers for the book industry were put at 79,000 in Germany (2012) and 80,000 in France (2011), while the UK figure - defined as "publishing" - was put at 223,000 (2012).
The report also comments on many of the well-known challenges and opportunities of digital, such as the "more complex" consumer behaviours to be negotiated and the factors that reduce the so-called "digital dividend".
The research was presented by Bertelsmann in London today (23rd September) at a management conference on the theme of creativity.