According to a study on hours spent reading per week per person, the top five countries in the world are India (10 hours, 42 mins), Thailand (9 hours, 24 mins), China (8 hours), Philippines (7 hours, 36 mins), Egypt (7 hours, 30 mins). So where does Argentina stand on this list?
Argentina is the 18th most well read country in the world, with an average of 5 hours, 54 minutes of reading per week per person. However, it is the second most bookish country in Latin America, following Venezuela, with an average of 6 hours, 24 minutes. After Argentina is Mexico at 5 hours, 30 minutes per week, then Brazil at 5 hours, 12 minutes per week.
Interestingly enough, some of the top-5 countries with highest average reading per week, also have relatively low adult literacy rates. The World Bank’s most recent data on adult literacy was in 2015, which reported that India’s literacy rate was 72.23%, Egypt’s was 75.8%, and then China and Philippines are tied at 96%.
If you look at Argentina, 98% of the adult population are literate. Which leads to the question: if Argentina has a higher literacy rate, then shouldn’t Argentines be reading more?
Argentina isn’t doing too bad, though. Buenos Aires alone has 25.4 bookshops per 100,000 people, according to a 2013 study. In the same study, Hong-Kong reportedly had 21 bookstores per 100,000 people in 2014, New York only had 10, Paris had 9, London had 4, and Istanbul had only 1.
There are also a great number of books published in Argentina each year. In 2012, about 26,367 books are published in Argentina. That makes Argentina the 15th most published country in the world, and the 1st most published country in Latin America.
So this leads to the final question: why are some countries more well-read compared to others? Is Argentina poised to work its way up the list, or is there a bigger piece of the literary puzzle we are missing?