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More in Singapore reading both in print and digital: Survey

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National Library Board survey also shows e-loans of reading material doubled

That person staring intently at his tablet on the train may well be reading an e-book, judging by a National Library Board (NLB) survey which showed e-loans of reading material in 2018 doubled the figures recorded the previous year.

According to the 2018 National Reading Habits Study, people in Singapore are reading more books, magazines and newspapers - both in print format and digital. The trend is in part attributable to the popularity of e-books.

E-loans at NLB libraries reached about 3 million last year, compared with about 1.5 million e-loans in 2017.

Figures released yesterday also showed 88 per cent of adults read more than once a week last year, compared with 80 per cent in 2016.

The reading materials included books, magazines, newspapers and online articles. The trend was reflected both among adults and teenagers, aged 13 to 19 years old.

Ms Krist Chan, deputy director (adults and seniors) at NLB's Content and Services Division, said the "skyrocketing" rates of e-loans is down to increasingly digitalised lifestyles, where consumption is influenced by electronic device use.

The survey also found that more people are consuming news, in print and digital format. The survey found that 77 per cent of adult respondents read news more than once a week, compared with 68 per cent in the 2016 study.

Among teenagers, 40 per cent said they read news articles more than once a week, up from 35 per cent previously.

Secondary Two student Kow Min Dana Namali, 14, said she started reading The Straits Times and Washington Post on Instagram when she entered secondary school last year.

"I started following news sites on Instagram when I started secondary school because I felt it was more important for me to keep up with current affairs. Other people around me also felt this need and it was easier for me to take part in conversations," she said.

The survey results were released in conjunction with the launch of the inaugural National Reading Challenge yesterday, which encourages Singaporeans to read more and form a habit of reading.

It is part of NLB's Read! Fest campaign, which is in its sixth iteration and runs till July 28.

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, the guest-of-honour of the event, said that Read! Fest is "an important long term mission to encourage reading and learning, especially amongst younger Singaporeans".

For the National Reading Challenge, those who borrow a book or an e-book from NLB libraries, from today till Sept 8, can win prizes such as computer tablets in a lucky draw.

The top prize is a pair of Singapore Airlines tickets to Brisbane.

Readers have to register for the Challenge with their myLibrary ID, a library membership account.

More details can be found at