Iranians spend, on average, 13 minutes a day reading and 2 hours and 49 minutes a day online, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Abbas Salehi has said.
Mr. Salehi made the remarks at the opening of the Tabriz International Book Fair, in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan, on October 21.
“Iranians spend, on average, 169 minutes a day using the internet. In some provinces, the figure is as high as 200 minutes a day,” Salehi was quoted as saying by the Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA). “Iranians also spend on average 72 minutes a day watching television.”
“Social media, the education system, and family culture are responsible for this alarming trend,” Salehi added. “Books and cultivating a reading habit are integral parts of the individual and cultural development of every society.”
“We have published 1.3 million books in the country in the past 40 years,” Salehi noted. “We faced a severe paper shortage in the first half of this year [year starting March 21], but the situation has improved. We have published 43,000 books in the past six months.”
“Iranians spent on average 4 hours and 34 minutes a month reading books in 2018,” Deputy Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Amir Nazemi tweeted in January, citing a report by the Statistical Center of Iran. “The data did not include religious material and school textbooks. It also said that we spent, on average, 1 hour and 27 minutes a month reading newspapers.”
“The report showed that Iranians also spent on average, 64 minutes a day on digital media,” Mr. Nazemi noted. “Our nation apparently spends 30 times more on the internet than reading books and nine times more on social media than reading newspapers.”
Deputy Culture Minister for Finance and Administration Ladan Heydari recently said: “The number of public libraries and books in cities, towns, and villages around the country shows that we must work harder on cultivating a reading culture.”
Mrs. Heydari made those comments at the opening ceremony of the 14th Iranian Publishers Book Fair in Shahrekord, capital of the southwestern province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari on October 12.
“Some 82,000 copies of 75 book titles were published in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari last year,” Mrs. Heydari was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). “Of that number, 78.66 percent were new titles and the rest translations of works already published. Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari is in the 30th place on the list of provinces with the highest number of books published per capita.”
“There are nearly 1.7 million books in 65 public libraries in the province,” Heydari added. “Some 44,695 people, which is only 4 percent of the population of the province, regularly use the libraries.”
[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]