La lettura in Italia

Book reading in Italy

42% of people aged 6 and over (24 million est.) have read at least one book in the 12 months preceding the interview, for purposes other than school or work. The figure is stable as compared to 2014, after the decline started in 2011.

9.1% of the Italian households do not own any books, 64.4% own 100 books at most.

Women show a higher familiarity with books: 48.6% of women are estimated to be book readers, against 35% of men.

Book readers' share is over 50% among those aged 11 to 19; it shows a decrease in later age groups; the age group that read the most is 15-17.

School is not enough. Family is a key factor: 66.8% of youngsters aged 6 to 14 with both parents who read books are book readers too, vs. only 30.9% of those whose parents do not read books.

Book reading remains much less frequent in the South of Italy, where fewer than one out of three (28.8%) person has read at least one book. In Sicilia and Sardegna, readers are 33.1%: an increase as compared to 31.1% recorded in the previous year.

In metropolitan centres the estimated percentage of book readers is 51%, vs. 38.1% in areas with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants.

"Strong" readers, i.e. people who read on average at least one book per month, are 13.7% of the readers (they were 14.3% in 2014). Data confirm that nearly one reader out of two (45.5%) is a "weak" one, having read no more than three books in one year.

Those who read or downloaded books or e-books in the last three months are estimated to be 4.5 million: 8.2% of the total population and 14.1% of those who surfed the Internet in the last three months.

Book reading and cultural participation go hand in hand: among book readers, shares of those who practice other cultural activities and sports and surf the Web are regularly higher than those of non-readers.

Book readers also showed higher levels of satisfaction for their leisure time (71% vs. 64% of non-readers) and their economic situation (56% vs. 42%).

Between 2011 and 2012, 37.8% of the foreign citizens living in Italy report they read at least one book: an indicator of a lower familiarity with reading as compared to Italians (52%). Nearly half of the foreign respondents read at least one newspaper per week (48.6%) and 29.5% weekly or periodic magazines.

In 2014, Italian households spent 3,339 million euros for books and 5,278 for newspapers, printed matter and stationery: 11 and 18 euros per month, respectively, 0.4% and 0.6% of their total expenditure for final consumption.

Between 2010 and 2014, household expenditure for books, newspapers and magazines decreased by 18%, that for stationery by 31%. That reduction is much higher than the one recorded by the expenditure for goods and services as a whole (6%).

Data in greater detail are available at, under the heading "Culture, communication, leisure, time use", sub-heading "press, mass-media, new media".

books, culture, leisure time, publishing industry, reading, statistics report
Communication culture and leisure, Education and training
document typology:
Press release
Reference period
Year 2015
Date of publication
13 January 2016
Full text
(pdf 132 KB)

Culture and leisure time unit
Fabrizio Maria Arosio
Ph. +39 06 4673.7210
fax +39 06 4673.7211
Monica Perez
Tel. 06.4673.7321

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