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N-E readers prefer romance

- NBT report on reading habits releases today

New Delhi, Nov. 19: Youths from the Northeast prefer romantic fiction to fantasy as leisure-time reading in sharp contrast to their counterparts in other states, says a National Book Trust (NBT) report to be released tomorrow.

The report Youth of Northeast India: Demographics and Readership analyses the data of a three-year survey conducted by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).

The NCAER’s National Youth Readership Survey had interviewed 38,575 literate youths (13-35 years of age) in 199 towns and 432 villages in 207 districts covering all the states and Union Territories of the country. It found that 25 per cent of youths read books other than textbooks. Most of them prefer fiction such as adventure, comics, romance, thriller, science fiction, graphic novels, humour and mythology.

The NBT further analysed the data to find out the exact reading habits of Northeast youths and compare the trend with the all-India trend and that in Maharashtra and Bihar. The report, which will be released by HRD minister M.M. Pallam Raju, says 43 per cent of youths in the Northeast, 41 per cent in Assam and 67 per cent in the three states of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram read during leisure time.

The report found that the highest proportion of romance fiction readers are found in the northeastern states — over 23 per cent against the national average of 5.6 per cent (see chart).

While romance and comics are the preferred leisure reading in the Northeast, youths at the national level prefer fantasy. The national percentage of fantasy readers is over 18 per cent while it is 6.8 per cent in Assam and 5.6 per cent in other northeastern states. The readership for fantasy fiction is much higher in Maharashtra (31 per cent) and Bihar (24 per cent). After fantasy, youths at the all-India level prefer to read comics, thrillers and mythology.

“The report gives an idea of region-wise preference of readers. This will help the publishing industry to produce materials to suit the taste of readers,” NBT director M.A. Sikandar told The Telegraph.

Among non-fiction books, about 31 per cent readers at the national level prefer to read books on religion followed by 30 per cent preferring to read biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. The trend in the Northeast is skewed towards books on current affairs, followed by biographies, autobiographies and memoirs.

The report is a follow-up study of the National Youth Readership Survey (2009-10).

In order to have a better understanding of the status of the Northeast states as compared to the rest of country in this sector, the findings have been compared with that of a developed state like Maharashtra and an economically backward state like Bihar, Sikandar said.


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