ZAGREB, April 23, 2019 – The eighth edition of Book Night, an annual event aimed at promoting reading and books, was formally inaugurated at the National and University Library in Zagreb on Tuesday amid alarming reports about a sharp decline in book reading from the previous year.
The latest survey of reading habits, carried out by the Kvaka agency, revealed a decline in book reading in Croatia in the past year, from 56 percent in 2017 to 42 percent in 2018.
The opening ceremony was addressed by Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divljak, who highlighted the importance of book reading and its impact on social development.
Nenad Bartolčić, a member of the organising committee, spoke of negative developments in the country, noting that both the number of people who had read at least one book last year and the number of people who had bought at least one book in the last three months had dropped. He also drew attention to a decline in book production and “a chronic shortage of quality releases.”
“This a long-standing negative trend which we are trying to stop and even reverse, through this event as well. That will require far more activities from all sector stakeholders because one or several events are not enough,” Bartolčić said.
Book Night is held to mark World Book and Copyright Day, which is observed on April 23, and Croatian Book Day, marked on April 22. It is being held in 175 cities and towns across Croatia, with over 800 programmes. This year’s theme is “Favourite Book and Comic Book Characters and Heroes”.
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