Do Ukrainians read? It would seem that the aggravation of problems during quarantine and the economic crisis have distracted Ukrainians from reading. Is that really so? According to the latest data, the average reader of Ukraine will read about nine books a year, which is two books more than in 2017. If we talk about the number of publications read per year in the regional context, more books are read in Central (10) and Southern (9.7) Ukraine. Promote Ukraine, together with experts, researched the preferences of Ukrainian readers and how they changed during the global pandemic.

Research&Branding Group found that 43% of Ukrainians believe they read regularly. On the other hand, 57% hardly take books. At the same time, women read more than men (47% vs. 38%). Zealous book lovers are people aged 18-30 (51%), and Ukrainians of pre-retirement and retirement age (39%) spend the least time on books. And the lion’s share of readers are people with higher education (56%).

The Research&Branding Group also investigated how often Ukrainians pick up a book. It turned out that 14% read almost daily, 27% – several times a week, 31% – several times a week, 2 % – several times a year, and 4% of respondents said they do not read at all or refrained from answering.

The most popular among literary genres and types today are detective stories (41%), historical works (36%), and romance novels (27%). Less attention is paid to science literature (18%), classics (16%), science fiction (15%) and popular science literature (12%). The least popular for Ukrainians are thrillers (7%), fairy tales (7%), poetry (9%), memoirs/biographies (9%) and military novels (9%).

Speaking of book formats, 74% of Ukrainians still prefer paper editions. E-books were chosen by 21% of respondents, and 4% prefer audiobooks. It is expected that the older generation is inclined to the traditional format of literature, while young people are increasingly choosing digital and audio versions of books.

Interestingly, according to a study by the Institute of Ukrainian Books, “Reading is in the context of media consumption. The influence of quarantine on the reading behaviour of Ukrainians” on social networks is associated mostly with children. Moreover, in addition to emotional mentions of children’s reading, they are a mandatory item in the list of charitable gifts of Ukrainians (they are collected, donated and promoted by specific donors). And, in general, books are the first association for children. Therefore, we will consider the results of this study.

Gender Differences

The total attention to reading is 2.5 times greater in women than in men. However, there is a certain difference in the topics. For example, women mention reading more often as an option for leisure during quarantine. But challenges (tell us about your favourite book, how many books you read in quarantine) are more often initiated by men. At the same time, women devoted twice as much of their posts to announcements of book presentations, and men were three times more likely to be the authors who distributed their books.

Printed Books are the Absolute Leader

Printed books remain the absolute leader among Ukrainians in various social networks. However, the number of mentions in which paperback books are directly approved is small. The authors of such posts emotionally note the kinesthetic pleasure, the smell of the pages, or provide a list of benefits of “paper” reading (vision, perception of the book value, the possibility of greater immersion, etc.).

Instead, electronic editions caused a more polar attitude of readers: dissatisfaction is caused by the prices for electronic versions (not low enough in comparison with the paper analogue), pleasure is an opportunity to receive texts free of charge.

Audiobooks are taken for granted. People just briefly mention this type of book consumption.

Thus, regardless of gender, social media users read mostly printed media, fewer read electronic versions (women do it in 11% of mentions, men – in 9%), and some rarely listen to audiobooks (respectively, 3% and 4% of mentions).

Books nationalReading Drivers

People not particularly inclined to explain their choice of book, but even in a small sample the importance of the personal opinion of the communication circle is noticeable. Acquaintances advise popular and “useful” books.

Drivers can be divided into the following categories:

  • Recommendations from social contacts (family, colleagues, acquaintances).
  • Educational needs.
  • Professional needs.
  • Author’s speeches in the media or live.

Top books of the most mentioned Ukrainian authors in social networks are the following:

The most popular was Oksana Zabuzhko and the fact that her book was included in the list of the most anticipated books of 2020 from The New York Times. Lina Kostenko has fewer mentions, but noticeably more reach than Zabuzhko. She is actively congratulated on her birthday and her poetry is quoted.

Instead, Serhiy Zhadan was very active in the context of quarantine: live reading, online book presentations. And Max Kidruk has the largest number of reader reviews of different emotions, positive and not.

Basically, Kokotyukha himself writes about Kokotyukha’s books. In turn, Sofia Andrukhovych is equally mentioned as the author of a new book and as the author of the book for which the film was created. And Vasyl Shklyar was written about in the context of showing the film “Black Crow” and the writer’s birthday on the Chanel 1 + 1.

Among the 681 mentions of Lyuko Dashvar’s books, only 14 are from men, which is not the lowest share in the sample. Much is written about Yurii Andrukhovych in the context of his birthday. And speaking of Halyna Vdovychenko, her book “36 and 6 Cats” is often quoted.

For their side, Kapranov brothers always share information about their books and give annotations to YouTube videos, so the audience coverage is maximum. Many of the posts about Izdryk are in the context of the filming of “Me and Felix,” where he will play the lead role.

Of the books by Volodymyr Lys, the “Century of Jacob” is the most popular. Mostly in posts related to Andriy Kurkov’s books, he is often called “the most famous Ukrainian writer.”

Readers’ reviews of Irene Rozdobudko are very emotional and wordy, at a time when Irena Karpa’s books are most often discussed in the posts of her interviews and comments.

Yuriy Vynnychuk actively “lit up” in the flash mob “7 days – 7 covers,” while most mentions of Maryna Hrymych were in the context of the release of her new book “Yura.”

The vast majority of posts about Roman Zinenko are about the presentation in Cyprus of a novel about Ilovaisk. And the surge of interest in the book by Yanina Sokolova and Olga Kupriyan was on the fight against cancer.

Natalia Tolub

All News ›