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  • 작성자 사진Han Seo-hyeon

[Culture] Changes Related to Books during the COVID-19 Pandemic

최종 수정일: 2021년 4월 19일

No. 150 / Mar 8, 2021

Due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many changes in daily life. Rather than meeting people outside, more people spend time alone at home enjoying indoor activities, and naturally, interest in reading has increased. According to the Millie Reading Report 2020, which covers the reading trends of the year 2020,reading volume surged in March, April, August, and September, when social distancing was strongly implemented, especially in March, when reading volume increased by 43% compared to February.

As there is a lot of interest in reading, the way books are read has also diversified. People have moved away from the traditional method of reading paper books bought from bookstores and have embraced reading e-books through mobile phones and tablet PCs. Online reading platforms with e-books have been created, and e-books are read in earnest using e-book reading devices. For a monthly subscription fee of 9,900 won, unlimited e-books can be read, which is very cheap compared to more than 10,000 won per paper book. In addition, big data statistics analyze readers’ tastes and create reading indexes, which greatly helps readers establish reading patterns and develop reading habits.

The popularity of audiobooks has also increased, with the domestic audiobook platform Willa Audiobook recording an increase of 800% in subscribers compared to 2019, and a 250% increase in average monthly audiobook playback time per person. According to Willa’s study of reading habits, the average number of paper books read this year was 1.1, while the average for audiobooks was 7.4 per month. The increase in reading volume is attributed to the fact that reading is possible in various places and situations of daily life through audiobooks. It is also attractive for subscribers to hear their favorite celebrities’ or authors’ voices. In addition, infants and adolescents who are accustomed to learning with smart devices are expected to use audiobooks as well, so audiobooks will likely become just as common as paper books in the future.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the increase in online reading content, small bookstores have been hit hard by the loss of sales. Therefore, bookstores have begun offering readers who still prefer paper books specially curated books every month, conducting different marketing, producing various goods to commemorate books, and increasing people’s affection for books. Regardless, the increase in reading volume was the most positive of the changes caused by COVID-19. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body,” said Richard Steele, a British journalist and writer. These days, the expenditure of physical energy has been reduced, so it would be good to perform mental exercise through reading instead of outside activities.


By Han Seo-hyeon, AG Reporter

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