E-books overtake paper in China

Digital media have overtaken books as the most read media in China, according to a national survey released on Monday.

About 58.1 percent of Chinese adults read digitally in 2014, up 8 percent, while 58 percent read books, only 0.2 percent up, said an annual survey on reading habits polling about 35,500 adults in 29 provincial divisions.

The survey, conducted from September by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, revealed that 51.8 percent of the respondents read on their mobile phones while 49.4 percent on ordinary computer and 5.3 percent on e-reader such as a Kindle.

Tablet computers were first listed this year and 9.9 percent of those surveyed used them.

Digital reading has picked up quickly. In 2008, only about 24.5 percent of respondents read digitally. About 22.3 percent of Chinese adults read e-books in 2014, up from 19.2 percent in previous year.

Each person read 3.22 e-books on average, up from 2.48 in 2013, while 4.56 books were read per capita in 2014, slightly down from 4.77 in 2013.

The Chinese also spent much more time on digital reading than traditional. About 55 minutes was spent on reading online and 33.82 minutes on reading on mobile phone each day, compared with 18.76 minutes on books and 18.8 minutes on newspapers.

However, the amount of time Chinese spent on reading books, newspapers and magazines all increased in 2014.

According to the survey, 67.6 percent of Chinese aged between 18 and 39 were engaged in digital reading.