Trends: Singaporeans Reading More in Surge during Pandemic

Singapore readers spent an equivalent of 28 years reading this year – 8 years more than 2019. The pandemic has seen a 270% increase in reading minutes, with nonfiction, romance and fiction topping the list for most popular genres of the year.

Reading a book on an e-book reader while enjoying a cup of tea.

Reading a book on an e-reader while enjoying a cup of tea.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been a tumultuous year full of change and uncertainties.

As the nation grapples with an ongoing pandemic, reading has been an escape from the present to disconnect from current worries.

As we near the end of 2020, data from Toronto-based digital reading company Rakuten Kobo provides a snapshot of what and how Kobo users in Singapore read.

According to Rakuten Kobo’s data, Singaporeans spent at least 10,409 days reading this year – which is the equivalent of 28 years.

This is an increase of 8 years more time spent reading compared to 2019.

Additionally, with readers spending more time at home, they also clocked 270% more reading minutes this year as compared to 2019.

While familiar genres like romance and nonfiction remain mainstays, books focused on kids are rising in popularity.

Despite being known as busy individuals (ranked 32 out of 40 for work-life balance in 2019), Singaporeans are still able to allocate time for reading first thing in the morning at 7.00am and before bed at 12:00am, the first and second most popular times of day for reading respectively.

Reading proves to be a form of therapeutic escape during lockdown

The month of May saw Singaporeans spending the most time reading, as seen from a 17% spike in reading minutes as compared to the next highest month, April.

This is driven by the increased time spent at home during the two months of “Circuit Breaker” measures put in place by the government from 7 April to 1 June.

Families found themselves having to adapt to remote work, and many picked up reading – which provided not only education and entertainment but also comfort during this especially challenging time.

Despite having the flexibility to maintain better work-life balance as the workforce transitions into a new normal, most Singaporeans choose to read on Saturdays, during the weekends where it is likely easier to fully ‘switch off’ from work.

We crave practical wisdom from reading

This billion-dollar booming industry of self-help books promises readers valuable advice and some form of enlightenment.

At least 60% of the top selling e-Books in Singapore fall into the motivational, self-help genre, including Michelle Obama’s Becoming, James Clear’s Atomic Habits and Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – (full list in the sidebar).

This suggests that Singaporeans find solace in self-help titles in a bid to achieve more or overcome their day-to-day challenges.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply