Reading in Ukraine
Comparison of leisure activities selected by book readers
As we can see from the table, book readers more frequently read mass media (including Internet media) comparing to the respondents’ array (7% more frequently every day or a few times a week), read or perform other activities in social media (6% more frequently every day or a few times a week), spend time on hobbies (6% more frequently every day or a few times a week), and play sports (4% more frequently). Readers devote more time to certain leisure activities than other respondents (a few times a month/year): self-education, visiting the cinema/concerts/exhibitions (8% more frequently), and volunteering and charity work (5%). No significant distinctions between these two groups regarding other types of leisure activities are identified.
Of those who watch television on a regular basis, 54% respondents never read books or read occasionally, for those involved in self-education only 19% never read books or read occasionally. The majority of people (61%) read books at least few times a week.
How often do you relax in this way?
Do you like reading?
|10.6||Cannot imagine my life without reading|
|33.4||Basically I like reading|
|32.2||Sometimes I want to read something|
|19.5||Not interested in reading at all|
|4.3||Hard to answer|
How much do you agree with the following statements?
Do you think you read enough?
|27.4||I’d like to read more|
|31.2||No, it’s not enough, and I have no ability to read more|
|19.7||I don’t read much, because I’m not particularly interested in it|
|6.1||Hard to answer|
How often do you read?
How many printed books have you read over the past year?
How many of them were from Ukrainian publishers?
How many printed books have you bought over the past year?
How many of them were from Ukrainian publishers?
How much did you pay for the last book you bought?
Of the books you bought, were there any you didn’t particularly need but you bought them for the following reasons?
|усі||% of those who bought at least one printed book over the past year|
|To support the author financially|
|To support the publisher financially|
|None of the above|
|Hard to answer|
Which of the following devices are available for you to use?
|60.7||Laptop / PC|
|12.2||None of the above|
Do you read e-books — books from laptop / PC. tablet. smartphone?
Have you listened to audio-books on your laptop/PC, tablet, smartphone, media-player over the past year?
Why don’t you read books?
Tag up to three main reasons
Why don’t you buy books?
Tag one main reason
Did your parents read to you in your childhood?
|усі||% of those who don’t read books|
|Yes, but I wish they had read to me more|
|No they didn’t|
|Hard to answer|
On a typical day when you read book, for how long do you usually read?
|усі||% of those who read books|
|More than 2 hours|
|Hard to answer|
How often do you read to kids?
|усі||% of those who read books|
|Several times a week|
|Several times a month|
|Several times a year|
|Once a year|
|I don’t have kids|
Which language, if any, is the most comfortable for you to read in?
|усі||% of all who read books|
|Any language if I know it well enough|
|Doesn’t matter, if I know the language well|
The percentage of readers who choose books in Russian (28%) is slightly higher than that of those who choose books in Ukrainian (24%). But more often readers choose the original language of the book (33%). For another 12% of readers the language of a book does not matter.
Preferences regarding book language have certain features depending on various socio-demographic characteristics. In particular, younger respondents prefer books in Ukrainian language more often. In the age category of 15 to 25 30% of readers say that it is more convenient for them to read in Ukrainian, and 25% in Russian. In the age category 26 to 35 the figures are 24% and 26%, respectively. Among readers aged 39 to 45 years old 21% prefer books in Ukrainian and 31% in Russian; among readers aged 46 to 59 years old these figures are 23% and 31%, respectively.
The overwhelming majority of readers in the western region prefer books in Ukrainian (61% choose Ukrainian language books and 6% choose Russian). Books in Russian are preferred by the majority of readers in the south (8% choose Ukrainian, 51% choose Russian) and East (5% choose Ukrainian, 50% choose Russian) regions. In the central region approximately equal percentages of readers choose books in Ukrainian (21%) and in Russian (20%). Readers from the central region say that it is equally convenient for them to read books in both languages.
The choice of language depends to a certain extent on the type of place the respondent lives in: in large cities (more than 100,000 inhabitants) readers choose books in Russian more often (37%, versus 15% in Ukrainian), in villages books in Ukrainian are more popular (38%, compared to 17% in Russian), while readers from small cities almost equally choose books in Ukrainian (25%) and in Russian (26%).
Naturally, the choice of language in which it is more convenient to read books depends on the language in which respondents communicate with their relatives at home. However, there are some other features. Approximately equal number of readers who use Ukrainian as their language at home say that it is more convenient for them to read books in Ukrainian (47%) or in both Russian and Ukrainian (45%). Among those who speak Russian at home the picture is completely different: almost two-thirds of them (62%) say that it is more convenient for them to read books in Russian and a one-third (34%) in both languages. 62% of those who speak both languages at homesaid that it is comfortable for them to read books in both languages. But the rest of the respondents much more often prefer books written in Russian (27%, compared to 9% in Ukrainian).
The popularity of different book genres
The most popular genres among Ukrainian readers are: modern detective stories, slightly more than a a third of readers (34%) read books of that genre in the past year, and classics (32%). During the last year 24% of readers read science fiction or fantasy, 24% textbooks and study guides, 23% books on psychology and self-development, 22% literature for children and adolescents, and 21% read romances, modern novels and scientific or pop-science publications. 19% of readers read professional and business literature, and 14% read encyclopedias, dictionaries and ‘how to’ books. 12% of readers read thrillers, mystery or horror books in the past year, the same number have read art publications and 11% read biographies and memoirs. Every tenth reader read religious books and poetry, and only 4% of readers read comics and graphic novels.
Which genres have you read during the last year year?
Which book genres have you bought over the past year?
It should be noted that the level of popularity of various genres differs significantly among different groups of respondents. In particular, the popularity of different genres among men and women is quite different.
Among female readers the most popular genres are classics and romance (34% of women read books from these two genres in the past year). 31% read literature for children and adolescents, 29% read modern detective stories and modern novels, 28% books on psychology and self-development, and 25% textbooks. Somewhat fewer women read science fiction and fantasy (18%), professional and business literature (17%), ‘how to’ books (16%), scientific and pop-science publications, as well as encyclopedias and dictionaries (15%). During the year 13% of female readers read art publications, 12% poetry, 11% books of religious content. Biographies and memoirs were read by 9% of female respondents; thrillers, mystery and horror by 8%, and comics and graphic novels by 2% of female readers.
The picture of genre popularity among men is quite different. The most popular book genre among male readers is modern detective stories (40% of male participants read this genre during the last year). One-third (33%) of male readers read fiction or fantasy, and 28% read classics, and scientific and pop-science books. 23% of men read textbooks and study guides, 22% read professional and business literature, and 17% read thrillers, mystery and horror, and books on psychology and self-development. Encyclopedias and dictionaries, as well as biographies and memoirs, were read by 14% of male respondents. 11% of men read literature for children and adolescents, with the same number reading ‘how to’ books, 10% art publications, and 9% modern novels. 7% of male respondents read books on religion and poetry, and 6% comics and graphic novels. It is rare for men to read romance novels (only 4% had).
There are also differences in the level of the popularity of genres depending on other indicators, but those are not very significant.
In the west region of Ukraine a significantly larger number of respondents read religious books as compared with other parts of the country. Scientific and popular science publications, as well as literature for children and adolescents, were more often read in the western and southern regions, as well as psychology books and textbooks. In the east and the south artistic publications were read more often than in the central region and in the west.
How often do you read books from different genres? (%)
Those from older age groups read classics, modern detective stories, biographies, religious books and art publications more often than younger readers. People from the younger age group more often read fiction and fantasy, textbooks and study guides. Those from the middle age group more often read professional and business literature, as well as literature for children and adolescents. Poetry was most often read by people from the younger and older age groups.
In general the picture of reading frequency of certain genre is similar to the picture seen with regard to of what genres were read by participants during the year, but there are remarkable features. When participants of the survey read books from almost all genres most of them do it several times a year or a month.
However, there are notable exceptions. Obviously, based on the specifics of such literature, 8% of respondents read textbooks and tutorials daily, and 11% read that genre several times a week. However, respondents read literature for children and adolescents often (6% read it daily and 12% several times a week). 2 % 0f participants read professional and business literature daily, and 7% read it several times a week.
Answering the question on books of what genres they bought during the year, more than a one-third of respondents (38%) said that they actually did not buy even a single book. During the year readers have bought books of different genres 2.5 to 3.5 times less than they have read. But there are certain deviations. The proportion of books for children and adolescents read versus bought (22% of participants read those books but only 17% bought such books) as well as textbooks and study guidlines (24% and 14%, respectively) is significantly higher. Comparatively fewer times (in proportion to reading books from this genre) people bought poetry (10% of respondents read it, but only 3% bought poetry books) and books on religion (10% and 2%, respectively).
The peculiarities of purchasing books in different socio-demographic groups have a character similar to the differences in reading books from different genres among men and women. Moreover, male readers said significantly more often than female readers that within the last year they had not bought any books (47% vs 30%). In addition, the proportion of readers who did not buy books decreases as the financial level of the respondents increases.
The respondents were asked a question about what texts they would like to read, but they were not been able to find a publications worth their attention so far. 30% of readers responded that there are no such texts. Texts from various genres which readers don’t have were cited three to fours times less often than they read books from those genres. Comparatively less often readers indicated a lack of the following such texts: romance novels, literature for children and adolescents, applied literature and textbooks. A different picture is seen with comics and graphic novels: while 4% of readers read it, 2% of respondents say that they would like to read this genre but have not been able to find anything worthy of their attention. As in any other issues involving readers’ genre preferences, the most significant differences are observed depending on the given respondent’s sex.
Purchasing books: price, motivation to buy, places
Methods of purchasing the books
Answering the question of where they got the books that they read over the past year, 35% of respondents answered that they bought them, 29% borrowed from friends, 21% downloaded books for free, 16% got books from a home library, 15% borrowed from the library and 4% borrowed from a school library.
City residents purchase books a little more often than village residents and they more often borrow books from friends. Residents of large cities download books more often than residents of medium-sized and small cities and villages, and they also more often read books from their home libraries.
People from the education, science, health care, culture, and media sectors more often than those from other groups bought books, borrowed them from a library, or borrowed them from friends.
Among the groups separated by employment status students and housewives most often bought books. Students more often than others downloaded books for free, and also borrowed them from a school library.
As the level of the respondents’ education increase they are more likely to buy books, download them for free, borrow them from a library, from the home library, or borrow them from friends.
Respondents with a high financial level more often bought books than respondents with a low financial level and also more often downloaded them for free.
Women bought books more often than men, and also borrowed them from a library or a home library or from friends more often than men. Those between 46 and 59 years old bought books less frequently than those from younger age groups. The younger the respondents the more often they downloaded books for free and the less often they took them from a home library.
Those who prefer reading books in Ukrainian more often buy books than those who prefer reading in Russian, and download them less often. That can be largely due to the fact that the majority of Russian-speaking respondents live in large cities, where the level of Internet use is higher, which means there are more opportunities to download books.
For what prices have you bought books in the last three months?
|усі||% of those who read books|
|Up to 65 UAH (€2)|
|65–150 UAH (€2–4.5)|
|150–250 UAH (€4.5–8)|
|More than 250 UAH (€8)|
|Didn’t buy at all|
|Hard to answer|
Number of purchased print books
60% of respondents have not purchased a single printed book in the past year, 29% purchased between one and five books, 7% between six and ten books, 3% between 10 and 25 books, 1% between 25 and 50 books, and only 0.2% more than 50 books. Over the past year 68% of respondents have not purchased a single printed book published by Ukrainian publishing houses, 22% between one and five such books, 4% between six and ten such books, 2% between 10 to 25 such books, 0.3% between 25 and 50 such books, and only 0.1% more than 50 such books.
City residents buy printed books slightly more often than residents of villages. Most often books are bought by those working in the education, science, health care, culture, and media sectors. The higher the educational level of the respondents the more often they buy books. Those from the poorest population group buy fewer books than the average for the respondents, 69% of those who only have enough for food or are forced to save on food have not bought a single book in the past year, and neither have 66% of those aged between 46 and 59 years old. Women buy printed books more often than men.
Over the past year printed books from Ukrainian publishing houses were more often purchased by residents of the western and central regions than by residents of the east and south. City residents are slightly more likely to buy books from Ukrainian publishing houses than village residents. Those from the education, science, health care, culture, and mass media sectors most often purchased books from Ukrainian publishing houses.
Respondents with higher education purchased such books more often than respondents with secondary specialised and secondary education.
Those from the poorest group of respondents buy fewer books than the average for the respondents: 77% of those who only have enough for food or are forced to save on food have not bought a single book published in Ukraine over the past year, neither had 73% of those aged from 46 to 59 years old.
Women buy books from Ukrainian publishers more often than men. Those who communicate at home in the Ukrainian language or equally in Russian and Ukrainian languages buy printed from Ukrainian publishers books more often than those who communicate only in Russian.
How many e-books have you downloaded over the past year?
The cost of books purchased
The average price of the last book purchased by those who bought books was 135 UAH.
Residents of the south and east regions of the country purchased books at a average higher price than residents of the west and central regions of the country. Residents of large cities paid a higher average price than residents of medium-sized and small cities and villages, students and business owners paid a higher average price, and people with higher education paid more than respondents with secondary specialised and secondary education. Those respondents with higher income levels bought more expensive books than those with low-income levels, men bought more expensive books than women, and those who prefer reading in Russian and those who answer “don’t care if I know the language well” bought more expensive books than those who prefer to read in Ukrainian. The same trends are confirmed by the distribution of answers to the question: “What price category did the books you bought over the past three months belong to?”.
Which kinds of texts would you like to read but you still haven’t found publishers worth your attention?
Reasons for book selection
The final decision on book selection is most often influenced by the friends’ recommendations (46% of readers). 26% say the author is a decisive factor, 24% say it is the summary provided, 19% price, 13% language, 13% quality of the text or translation, 12% feedback in social media and bookshop websites, 12% cover design / general visual presentation of the book, 12% seller’s recommendations, 11% reviews in media (conventional and online), 10% quality of printing and paper, 10% reviews on book websites, 5% the publishing company, and 5% TV and radio presentations.
Of those people who purchased at least one book within the past year 39% selected books as presents, only 3% wanted to support the author financially (even without any specific need for the book) and 3% made a decision to provide financial support to the publishing company.
Respondents from rural areas bought fewer books as presents (29%) than the national average. The rate of respondents who purchased books as presents increases correspondingly to their age (from 33% in the youngest group to 47% in the oldest one). The percentage of respondents who decided to purchase a book with intention of supporting the author or publishing company is equally low for all groups.
What influences your choice of books the most?
Books are most often bought in small local bookstores (25% of readers buy there), at markets (20%), in large retail networks (17%), in supermarkets (12%), at bookfairs (12%), and in large online bookstores (10%). 6% order books from catalogues, 6% visit websites of publishing companies, 6% buy from book dealers, 3% at book presentations, 0.4% in coworking spaces/caf?s, and 0.3% at gas stations and other sales locations.
Comparing to residents of medium-sized/small towns and villages, residents of big cities more often purchase books than іn large retail networks (22%, 13% and 13% respectively) and in supermarkets (17%, 8% and 9% respectively), but they less often visit small local bookstores (21%, 30% and 28% respectively). People from villages rarely purchase books in online stores (only 6% of them do that).
Comparing to respondents who completed vocational secondary/secondary education programmes, respondents with academic degrees more often purchase books in large retail networks (24%, 13% and 8% respectively) and in supermarkets (15%, 9% and 9% respectively). Women purchase books in small local bookstores (30% and 19% respectively) and supermarkets (14% and 9% respectively) more often than men.
Younger respondents are more likely to purchase books in online stores (with the rate increasing respectively from 5% of people aged between 46 and 59 to 15% of people aged between 15 and 25). It must be noted that those from the youngest group are the least likely to purchase books at markets (13%).
Within the past year 24% of readers purchased books at bookfairs: 17% bought between one and five books there, 2% between six and ten, 0.5% between 10 and 15, and 0.2% between 25 and 50.
Where do you buy books?
|усі||% of those who read books|
|In big internet bookstores (yakaboo, amazon, etc)|
|On publishing houses’ websites|
|In big book chain-stores (Knyharnia Ye. Bukva. etc.)|
|At book markets / exhibitions|
|At a bookseller|
|At book presentations|
|At co-working sites/cafe|
|In little local bookstores|
|In the market|
|At fuel stations or other random places|
|Hard to answer|
How many book have you bought at book fairs over the past year?
Do you use subscriptions for digital content (books, music, movies. etc) at all?
% of those who read/listen to e-books or audio-books
How did you get books you’ve read over the past year?
38% of respondents are building up their home libraries. Older people with higher academic degrees are more likely to be involved in this activity. Women build up home libraries more often than men. Respondents from Ukrainian-speaking families (or families using both Ukrainian and Russian) build up home libraries more often than respondents from Russian-speaking families. Those who prefer to read books in Ukrainian more often build up home libraries than those who prefer Russian.
Often people explain not wanting to build up home libraries with lack of space for book storage (36%) and identifying it as unnecessary (28%). 14% feel that a home library can be replaced by electronic books and 6% say that home library is a significant burden while moving house.
Чи збираєте ви домашню бібліотеку?
% of all
|Hard to answer|
% of those who read books
|Hard to answer|
Why aren’t you collecting a home library?
% of those who read and aren’t collecting a home library
|35.7||I have no place to keep books|
|5.5||A library is not easy to transport while moving house|
|13.9||Buying or downloading e-books is more convenient|
|28.4||I don’t understand why I need a library|
|8.8||hard to answer|
Popularity of ukrainian publishing houses
The Ranok publishing house from Kharkiv is the best-known Ukrainian publishing house: 10.4% of Ukrainian readers know it. This is one of the findings of a study carried out across the whole of Ukraine and titled “Ukrainian Reading Publishing Data 2018”. The study was published by the Chytomo cultural and publishing project in conjunction with the GUTENBERGZ digital publishing house and in co-operation with the Razumkov Centre sociological service.
Ivan Malkovich’s A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha publishing house ranks second: 7.2% of Ukrainians know it.
In third place is the Klub Simeinoho Dozvolu publishing house, with 6.2% of the respondents saying that they are familiar with it. Fourth and fifth are Vydavnytstvo Staryi Lev (3.9%) and Folio (3.3%), respectively.
The top three haven’t changed much over the last four years: in a 2014 study the rating of publishers was headed by A-ba-ba-ha-la-ma-ha, followed by Ranok and Klub Simeinoho Dozvolu. However, in that survey Ukrainians were asked about the level of trust in publishers, and not about brand awareness.
Top ten of the best known Ukrainian publishing houses also includes Osnova (2.2%), Navchalna knuha – Bohdan (1.8%), Veselka (1.4%), Osvita (1.4%), Svichado (1.2%).
Less than one percent of Ukrainians are familiar with any other publishing house.
Which Ukrainian publishing houses do you know?
Klub simeynogo dozvillia
Vydavnytstvo Starogo Leva
|Navchalna knyha - Bohdan|
|Duch i Litera||Kyiv|
|Grazhda||KM-Buks (Kraina Mrii)||Knygy XXI|
|Nash format||Presa Ukrainy||Prosvita|
|Pero||Pidruchnyky i Posibnyky||Prolisok|
|Faktor||Chumatskyi Shliakh||Yaroslaviv Val|
|Nebo||Nova knyga||Pianyi Korabel|
|Don’t read books at all|
|Know none of the above|
|Hard to answer|
Most popular modern Ukrainian authors
For Ukrainians, Lina Kostenko is the best-known author from among contemporary Ukrainian writers. This is one of the findings of a study carried out across the whole of Ukraine and titled “Ukrainian Reading Publishing Data 2018”. The study was published by the Chytomo cultural and publishing project in conjunction with the GUTENBERGZ digital publishing house and in co-operation with the Razumkov Centre sociological service.
When answering the open-ended question “Which contemporary Ukrainian writers do you know of?” 10% of the respondents named Lina Kostenko. Serhii Zhadan ranked second, with 7%; Yuriy Andrukhovych and Oksana Zabuzhko came third and fourth (with a slight difference in the number of mentions: 4.7% and 4.3%, respectively), and Vasil’ Shkliar was fifth, named by 3.9% of the respondents. None of Luko Dashvar, Iren Rozdobudko or Irena Karpa were among the top five; it’s worth noting that in a 2014 study of 2014, Ms Karpa was among the top five.
Lina Kostenko has been at the top of the ratings of Ukrainian writers for many years.
However, knowing about does not equate to reading: only about half of the respondents had actually read the books of the authors which they named. 5.8% of the respondents had read Lina Kostenko’s books and 3.9% Serhii Zhadan’s books. Oksana Zabuzhko outperformed Yurii Andrukhovych in terms of readers (2.6% versus 2.4%), respectively, and Vasil’ Shkliar (with 2.2%) was ousted from the top five by Luko Dashvar: her works had been read by 2.3% of the respondents.
In total, 145 names of contemporary Ukrainian writers were given during the survey. 14% of the respondents could not name even a single Ukrainian writer, and 13.8% responded “I find it difficult to answer” to this question. 9.9% did not respond at all.
16% of Ukrainians have not read a single book by a Ukrainian author of our times.
Vasyl Stus, Oles Buzyna, Vsevolod Nestayko, Yurii Pokalchuk, Vasyl Barka, Anatolii Dimarov, Natalia Zabila, Pavel Zagrebelnyi and others were named among contemporary Ukrainian writers.
1.9% of Ukrainians named literary classics of Ukraine.
Which modern Ukrainian writers do you know of?
Which of the Ukrainian writers have you read?
|The Kapranov brothers|
|Talan, Svitlana||Humeniuk, Nadiia|
|Luzina, Lada||Olendii, Lesia|
|Symona, Vilar (Natalia Obraztsova)||Pechorna, Olena|
|Diachenko, Maryna and Serhii||Pronin, Yel.|
|Volkov, Oleksii||Skriabin, Kuzma|
|Mukharskyi, Antin (Orest Liutyi)|
|Maks Frai (Martynchyk S. and Stopin I.)|
|Milevska, Anastasiia ?|
|Don’t read books at all|
|People named classics of Ukrainian literature||Hard to answer|
|Know none of the above|
21% of respondents said that they download free books. The majority of respondents (64%) use the Internet on a daily basis, and 16% use it a few times a week. We assume that the number of readers using the Internet as the key source of books will increase.
Residents of big cities use the Internet more often than residents of medium-sized/small towns and villages. Students and pupils are the most active Internet users, this source is used least frequently by pensioners; essentially, younger groups of respondents show stronger preference towards this source. Respondents with academic degrees use the Internet more often than respondents who completed specialised secondary/secondary education programmes. Financial status is also an important factor: people with lower incomes use the Internet less frequently than wealthier respondents. People who speak Russian at home use the Internet more often than Ukrainian-speaking respondents, due to the concentration of the Russian-speaking population in big cities where the Internet is more actively used.
Which devices for reading books are available to you?
|Device for reading e-books|
|Media-player (another device for audio listening)|
|None of the above|
How many e-books have you bought over the past year (or read in the framework of a paid subscription)?
Give the reasons you don’t read/buy e-books?
% of those who DON’T read/listen to e-books or audiobooks
The vast majority of respondents who read electronic books (92%) download those for free, only 8% make one-time purchases on specialised websites and 3% use an online subscription. Only 15% of respondents who read electronic books (or listen to audio-books) use digital content subscriptions (books, music, movies); more than 52% of those mention Apple/Google Music.
Of those who read electronic books (or listen to audio-books) within the past year 52% had downloaded between one and five books, only 18% % had downloaded between six and ten, 8% between 10 and 25, 4% between 25 and 50, and 4% more than 50 (7% hadn’t downloaded any).
The answers to question “How many electronic books have you bought within the past year (or read in a paid subscription format)?” give the following results: 78% of respondents who read/listen to electronic/audio books said none; 12% between one and five books , 2% between six and ten, 1% between 10 and 25, 0.8% between 25 and 50 and 0.3% more than 50.
Watching television is given as the most popular leisure activity, followed by mass media (including Internet) and social media activities.
Respondents most commonly prefer social media and the Internet, blogs, forums (read daily by 34% and 27% respectively). Printed books are read on a daily basis by only 8%, and few times a week by 16%, 4% read еlectronic books and 11% listen to audio-books. Printed books are never read by 36% of respondents, and 65% of respondents never read еlectronic books or listen to audio books.
Respondents with higher education levels read books more often; reading frequency is also influenced by financial status. Women read more printed books than men. Younger groups of respondents show more preference towards printed books.
37% of respondents hadn’t read any printed books within the past year, 36% between one and five books, 14% between six and ten books, 6% between 10 and 25 books, 4% between 25 and 50 books, and only 2% more than 50 books. 56% of respondents hadn’t read within the past year any printed books published by a Ukrainian company, 26% between one and five books, 6% between six and ten books, 3% between 10 and 25 books, 1% between 25 and 50 books and only 0.4% more than 50 books.
Having analysed the answers to questions regarding the printed books purchased and read within the past year, we can divide respondents into four groups: 1) people who didn’t read or purchase printed books within the past year (35%); 2) those who read but didn’t purchase printed books (25%); 3) didn’t read but purchased printed books (2%); and 4) those who read and purchased printed books (38%).
The majority of respondents use devices enabling them to read books in electronic formats: smartphones (70%), laptops/PCs (61%), tablets (27%), and e-readers (7%). However, electronic and audio-books are read/listened to daily only by 4% of respondents, with 11% doing so a few times a week. 65% of respondents never read/listen to electronic or audio-books. The most popular device used to read electronic books is the smartphone. The vast majority of people who read electronic books download those for free, only 8% make one-time purchases on specialised websites and 3% use an online subscription.
Respondents who don’t read or listen to printed, electronic books or audio-books most commonly explain that with lack of need or desire. Only 11% of them give unaffordable prices as the key reason, 7% say it is due to a lack of good, interesting and useful books to read.
25% of respondents spend one to two hours a day reading books, while 23% spend between half an hour and an hour daily reading.
Only 15% of respondents find extra time for reading, more people (26%) read books whenever possible, during breaks or simultaneously with other activities, other 23% answered “Both”. Extra time is more frequently contributed by students (25%), housewives (21%) and pensioners (20%).
The percentage of readers who prefer books in Russian (28%) is slightly higher than those who prefer books in Ukrainian (24%). Usually readers the pick language the given book was written in (33%). For 12% of readers language is of no importance.
Selection of book language is characterised with some peculiarities depending on different social and demographic factors. In particular, younger respondents prefer books written in Ukrainian. The vast majority of respondents from western Ukraine prefer books written in Ukrainian, while respondents from southern and eastern Ukraine mostly prefer books written in Russian. Residents of central regions almost equally share their preferences for books written in Ukrainian and Russian, and the majority of respondents from these regions feel comfortable with both languages. Respondents who speak Ukrainian at home are almost equally divided into those who feel more comfortable with Ukrainian and those who are happy with any language. The situation is different with the Russian-speaking respondents: two-thirds answer that they feel more comfortable with books written in Russian and one third have no specific preference. The majority of bilingual respondents (i.e. both languages spoken at home) say that that both languages are acceptable.
The most popular genres among the Ukrainian readers are modern crime fiction and classics. But different genres are selected by women and men: women prefer classics and love stories (genres picked by women within the past year); men have a strong preference towards modern crime fiction and fantasy. Love stories are the least popular among male readers (read by only 4% of men). Other distinctions related to genre popularity can be identified and depend on various indicators, but none are that significant.
Analysing the answers to question “Books of which genres did you purchase within the past year?”, we found that 38% of readers didn’t purchase any. Books of different genres were 2.5 to 3.5 times more frequently purchased than read. But substantially higher is the proportion of purchased books for children/teenagers (read by 22% of readers and purchased by 17%) and textbooks and manuals (24% and 14% respectively).
Readers were asked about texts they would like to read but still hadn’t due to lack of publications worth their attention. 30% mentioned the absence of such texts; texts of different genres identified as preferable by readers were mentioned three to four times less often than books of these genres actually read.
Analysing the answers to question “Where did you get the books you read within the past year?”, we found that 35% of respondents purchased books, 29% borrowed from their friends, 21% downloaded free of charge, 16% had books from a home library, 15% borrowed from a public library and 4% from school library. People who prefer to read books in Ukrainian more frequently purchase books and less often download them than readers of books written in Russian. between one and five books, 14% between six and ten books, 6% between 10 and 25 books, 4% between 25 and 50 books, and only 2% more than 50 books.
60% of respondents hadn’t bought any printed book within the past year, 29% had purchased between one and five books, 7% between six and ten books, 3% between 10 and 25 books, 1% between 25 and 50 books and only 0.2% more than 50 books. 68% of respondents hadn’t bought any printed book published by a Ukrainian company within the past year, 22% had purchased between one and five books, 4% between six and ten books, 2% between 10 and 25 books, 0.3% between 25 and 50 books and only 0.1% more than 50 books.
The average price of the last purchased book was 135 UAH.
Urban residents purchase books more often than respondents from villages. Respondents with higher education levels more often purchase books. Women tend to buy more printed books than men.
The final decision on book selection is mostly influenced by the friends’ recommendations (46% of readers). 26% say the author is a decisive factor, 24% say it is the summary provided, 19% price, 13% language, 13% quality of the text or translation, 12% feedback in social media and bookshop websites, 12% cover design / general visual presentation of the book, 12% seller’s recommendations, 11% reviews in media (conventional and online), 10% quality of printing and paper, 10% reviews on book websites, 5% publishing company, and 5% TV and radio presentations.
Of those who purchased at least one book within the past year, 39% purchased books as presents (16% of all respondents).
Books are most commonly purchased in small local bookstores, at markets and in large retail networks.
|38.6||Higher or incomplete higher|
Your professional status
|7.8||Student / pupil|
|11.8||Temporarily don’t work|
|10.7||Don’t work, running a household|
If you work, in which field to you work? If you work in several fields, give the main one
|Science and education|
|Culture and media|
|Sales and services|
|Law enforcement agencies and courts|
|Rural economy and agribusiness|
|Hard to answer|
Do you have children or grandchildren under the age of 15?
Which language do you use for communication at home?
|21.3||Both (Ukrainian and Russian)|
Which language you use for communication outside the home?
|26.3||Both (Ukrainian and Russian)|