Phones, tablets are now books in China

Phones, tablets are now books in China

With the use of smartphones and tablets rising in the country, many Chinese are taking to e-reading. Xing Yi reports.

With the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets, Chinese are reading more on their palms.

A recent report by E-surfing Reading Culture Communications, a China Telecom subsidiary, points to the trend. The company provides e-reading and other digital content to about 220 million registered users in the country.

According to the report, released on Nov 26, about 40 per cent of the company's users of its e-surfing reader app read between 6 am and 9 am, overlapping with the commuting time most people use to get to work.

The company's users in second- and third-tier cities read more digital books as compared to Beijing or Shanghai, which aren't on the top e-reading list, according to the report.

Taizhou, a coastal city in eastern China's Zhejiang province, with around 6 million people, topped the chart with an annual average readership of 10.5 e-books in 2014. The national average was 2.48 titles in 2013.

The report throws up interesting reading habits across different provinces, regions and cities.

For example, readers in Beijing prefer spooky thrillers such as Gui Chui Deng (Candle in the Tomb) and Dao Mu Ren (Tomb Robber); readers in Shanghai like humorous short stories and collections of jokes after a hard day's work; people in Suzhou, one of China's top tourist spots, like romantic novels set in imperial times while residents of Chongqing devour fantasy martial arts books.

Since the report by E-surfing is limited to its own users of the e-surfing reader app, a national survey released by Chinese Academy of Press and Publication earlier this year may provide a clearer picture.

According to that survey, conducted on 40,600 people across 74 cities in 29 provinces, regions and municipalities, more than half of the readers polled had some digital reading experiences in 2013.

Some five years ago, readers with such experiences made up just 24 per cent of the 25,500 people surveyed.

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