Singapore—The lockdowns made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic means we all stayed home so much more this year than we’ve been used to. While this has been hard on our social lives, and maybe even our waistlines, staying home may have been surprisingly beneficial to our minds, as a new study shows that Singaporeans were reading much more than in the last year.
Data from Rakuten Kobo, a digital reading company based in Toronto, Canada, shows that “Singaporeans have a growing appetite for literature,” according to a Nov 17 statement from the company.
“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 per cent more reading minutes this year as compared to 2019.”
Rakuten Kobo did not only look at how long Singaporeans were reading, but also at what kind of material they’ve been consuming, finding that the usual romance and nonfiction titles have stayed popular, as well as books that are tailored for children.
In spite of Singaporeans’ busy lives, with a recent study showing that the it’s still the second most overworked city in the world, Singaporeans are finding time to read when getting up at 7am and before going to bed at midnight, which are the most popular times of the day to read.
Unsurprisingly, Rakuten Kobo found that the highest spurt in reading times was during the Circuit Breaker, with Singaporeans reading 17 per cent more in the month of May.
“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.”
The top three genres of books Singaporeans read are nonfiction, romance and fiction, remaining unchanged from last year. Romance, in particular, seems to be a genre to watch out for. The company’s data showed that 90 per cent of the most popular authors for this year were classified under this category, and, notably, three of the top ten writers (Charlie Richards, Lynn Hagen and Sam Crescent) are writers of contemporary erotic romance.
Sex and Vanity, a new romance from Singaporean-American Kevin Kwan of Crazy Rich Asians fame, is in the year’s bestselling ebooks.
Self-help and motivational books are also a staple in Singaporeans’ reading lists with at least 60 per cent of bestselling ebooks in this category, including former US First Lady Michelle Obama’s Becoming and Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck . “This suggests that Singaporeans find solace in self-help titles in a bid to achieve more or overcome their day-to-day challenges,” the company said.
Here are the most popular ebooks for 2020:
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
- Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
- Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Rakuten Kobo, the world’s only dedicated digital bookseller, offers a number of eReaders (Kobo Nia, Kobo Clara HD, Kobo Libra H2O and Kobo Forma) to suit anyone’s needs and tastes. Some models are waterproof, others are more budget-friendly, while others are equipped with lighting suited for night reading. Moreover, Kobo’s book catalogue offers over six million titles to choose from. —/TISG