As much as Susan Sontag tried to make us think that the heart can be educated with books, it seems that we do not finish using that formula to achieve it. Read. Yes. We read for leisure, for pleasure, for obligation, for necessity, for habit and even for boredom. But we also resist doing it. The data of the last Barometer of Reading Habits that has been presented in the National Library reveal that 38.2% of Spaniards never read or almost never read despite the fact that the number of readers in free time has managed to ascend slightly to 61 , 8 of the population. The lack of time that many respondents allege to justify this absence of habit is compounded by the shortage manifested by some municipal libraries of rural enclaves, the progressive colonization of digital screens in the territory of paper, the decline that has suffered the consumption of cultural products in recent years or the total absence of interest and the almost biological rejection of books – 32.2% admit that they do not read because they do not like or do not care – as some of the main reasons why Open a book costs. Convinced that these data are nothing more than a basis on which to work with greater determination and to be able to establish specific policies that contribute to their improvement, the president of the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain, Miguel Barerro, declared; «I think that the realization of this study serves to put the focus on certain audiences or groups and to try to give an answer to the why of several questions. Although there is an increase in reading habits of a moderate nature, we can not be satisfied with these results either ». Results that also show the fact that women continue to lead consecutively the majority percentage of the most reader profile, especially in the age range between 25 and 34 years. It seems that they read more books and content on social networks, while they prefer newspapers, comics, blogs and forums. To understand how we are, it is convenient to analyze how we read and this barometer includes for the first time a rigorous analysis on the perception of reading where curious data are observed that contribute to a much better understanding of the gender statistics mentioned above and evidence the need to rethink the values that move us and introduce us to the world of words. Apparently, women perceive reading more than men as an "exciting and stimulating" activity and something capable of making you "happier", while there is a greater proportion of men who think that "there are other leisure activities more entertaining than reading »or directly that« to have culture you do not need to read books ». The number of frequent readership grows, the Autonomous Communities improve their reading rates with respect to last year, Spaniards continue to go to the bookstores to do their shopping, children read in a generalized way, the proportion of book buyers increases and the amount purchased and the number of readers that you claim to read in your spare time increases. This kind of conclusions balances the balance and provides some hopeful glimmers of good habits in the cultural diagnosis of the Spaniards.
Not everything is bad
As Minister of Culture José Guirao pointed out, "the balance I make of the results obtained is generally positive. Reading habits are increasing, younger readers are getting a little above the European average and that is something synthetic in our society, "said the socialist while showing relative concern about other data obtained; "However, all this should not cloud an existing and worrisome reality such as the fact that 38% of respondents do not read anything at all. We want to encourage policies to promote reading and focus on those young people between 14 and 18 whose interest in books has been reduced considerably. " In addition to the aforementioned, the minister highlighted the imminent intention of the Government to include within the General State Budget a budget of 3 and a half million euros for the loan of books and maintenance of municipal libraries, as well as the reduction of Cultural VAT of electronic books at 4%. The purpose is clear. Getting people to read more and better. And for this the book should not only be used as the necessary key to cultural initiation, but as a door capable of accompanying the entire journey. Variety is the element that gains the most ground in a barometer that categorizes and defines reading habits to translate questions and analyze, as much as possible, how words breathe. Librarians, teachers and politicians must tune in to stimulate the concerns of those who still do not dare to get into the literary universe and get the number of readers who already discovered it to grow.