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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 04:02 GMT 05:02 UK
Newspapers top reading survey
Man outside Buckingham Palace
Are newspapers the answer to a busy lifestyle?
Newspapers are the nation's favourite read says a new survey.

People spend on average two hours a week reading papers, the research published on Monday found.

But online browsing takes up a large chunk of the reading day, ahead of magazines and reference books, the Orange Prize for Fiction research found.

The survey of 200 couples suggested 40% of people never read a book and that women are more likely to read novels than men.
Daily Reading Time
17 mins: Newspapers
11 mins: Fiction
7mins: Internet
5 mins: Magazines
2 mins: Reference books

Dr Jenny Hartley, a lecturer in English literature at Roehampton University, said: "This is the most in-depth recent research in to the state of our reading nation.

"We can now see how book reading is not only competing against other forms of entertainment like television but also against the mass of other printed media."

More couples appear to have two cars than two novels - 23% of couples said they were both reading fiction compared to 26% of couples both owning a car.

The internet is increasingly important as a reading habit, with the average person spending seven minutes a day online.

'Quick fix'

This was closely followed by magazines at five minutes, then reference books.

In total, people spend a total of six hours a week reading compared to more than three hours a day watching television, it adds.

While men spend more time with general reading every day, the research suggests they spend more time on the internet.
Woman in library
Women read more fiction than men

Women appear to be the more dedicated novel readers, spending 25 minutes a day reading fiction, rising to 70 minutes a day while on holiday.

Regional differences also emerged, with people in the South reading for an hour a week more than those in the Midlands and the North.

Dr Hartley added: "The diaries suggest that magazines and newspapers suit our need for short quick fixes of reading material that fit easily into our busy lives.

"Fiction reading as a daily habit is a niche activity dominated by women."

The survey asked 200 couples to keep reading diaries for three weeks.

The Orange Prize for Fiction was established in 1996 and is awarded to women authors from around the world.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Reading usually takes second place to the number one leisure activity television"
See also:

17 May 02 | Health
10 May 02 | UK Education
30 Apr 02 | England
13 Mar 02 | UK Education
01 Mar 02 | England
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