Survey reports increase in reading books in Scotland during lockdown
16 November 2020
Scottish Book Trust launched a new report for Book Week
Scotland, the country's biggest celebration of reading and writing
which runs from Monday 16 November to Sunday 22 November.
Reading in Scotland: Reading Over
Lockdown is a report by the charity which recruited a
panel of people living in Scotland, surveying their experiences of
reading between March and August 2020.
The report found that the majority of panellists recorded
reading more over the lockdown, with some noting they had more
energy for reading due to working from home. 65% of those surveyed
stated that they were reading more than they used to, and 60% were
reading books they would not have normally read.
Due to covid restrictions impacting libraries and bookshops,
many reported that they were reading existing books - 71% reported
that they were focusing on their 'to be read' pile rather than
purchasing new books. Additionally, comments from the panel
included missing the experience of browsing in libraries and
bookshops, resulting in less opportunities to see things they want
to read and less impulse buying. The report also noted that reading
habits changed during lockdown: daily audiobook use tripled (from
4% to 12%) and ebook use more than doubled (from 13% to 29%)
between the first and last weekly surveys.
There was also concern about children's access to books: 1/5 of
those with children worried about running out of books. 94% of
panellists with children usually used the library and school
librarians also expressed concern about being unable to promote
books due to restrictions on sharing.
During Book Week Scotland, all P1 pupils across the country will
receive their free Bookbug Family Bag, containing books and
resources to inspire a lifelong love of reading, writing and
counting. The Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag contains the three
shortlisted titles for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize - over
175,800 books will be distributed through the bags, and 2,700
translated books for children in Gaelic Medium Education. The
winner of the prize is voted for by P1 children and schools or
families can also vote from home on the Scottish Book Trust
260,000 books will also be gifted to P2 and P3 pupils through
their Read, Write, Count bags, which also include an activity guide
for families to use at home and educational games. The bags are a
great opportunity to build relationships with parents and
strengthen links between home and school learning.
Although there will be no face-to-face events for Book Week
Scotland this year, the Digital Festival has a stellar line-up
including award-winning author Denise Mina; actress and comedian
Ruby Wax; bestselling crime writer Louise Welsh and Dr Yusef Salaam
of the exonerated Central Park Five.
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:
"Lockdown has been a difficult time for us all, but it's
encouraging to see many of the public have used the time to pick up
a book. Reading can support mental health and wellbeing, reduce
stress and also help relaxation, so it's the perfect habit to
start, even if you didn't read before. We know access to books can
be challenging for some, so we're delighted to gift the Bookbug
Family Bag to P1 pupils and the Read, Write, Count bags to P2 and
P3 pupils during Book Week Scotland: we hope families enjoy
exploring them together."
The full Book Week Scotland 2020 programme is available now. For Publishing
Scotland's events this year, see our Book
Week Scotland page.