The survey covered 1,000 respondents and was conducted on 1-18 March.
It shows that over the past year only 42% of respondents aged 16 and over read at least one book, down from 45% in 2021 and from 49% in 2020.
Among those who read, most read two books a year, 70% have a university degree, 61% have a monthly household income of over HRK 13,000, 52% live in Zagreb, and 48% are women.
Tamara Kraus, who conducted the survey, says possible reasons for the decline in reading are the effects of the pandemic, including increased stress and anxiety as well as less time to read due to online education and work from home.
Book Night initiator Mišo Nejašmić says the decline is due to the non-implementation of the national strategy to encourage reading.
“The book policy should be financially concrete and this system took a serious hit in 2008 due to austerity as well as in 2013, when books became subject to VAT”, he says, adding that another problem is a freeze on government outlays for books.
The state secretary at the Culture Ministry, Krešimir Partl, says the ministry has been investing in the culture infrastructure in recent years to ensure a balanced development of creative industries.
He mentions the opening of new libraries in many towns and the launch of the Mediterranean Book Festival, and announces the launch of a book festival in Osijek.
Also, he adds, HRK 250 million has been set aside in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for the creative cultural sectors.
The latest survey shows that 43% of readers borrow books in libraries, 36% buy them, 29% borrow them from friends, 21% have received a book as a gift, and 9% have photocopied or downloaded one.
Also, 65% of respondents read fiction, 30% read nonfiction, 27% read technical books, 22% read manuals, 13% read children’s books, 9% read art books, and 7% read cartoons.
Only 20% of respondents bought at least one book in the past three months, down from 25% in 2017 and 2018, and from 32% in 2005.
(€1 = HRK 7.5)
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