Icelanders bought 47% fewer books in 2017 than they did in 2010, a very sharp decrease in a matter of only six years. In a recent poll in Iceland, 13.5% of those who responded had not read a single book in 2017, compared to 7% in 2010.
The source of the quote blames this sad phenomenon on the English language but I don’t for a second think that’s what it is.
According to a recent study, in the homeland of the English language, kids arrive on their first day of school lagging behind the preceding generations and behind the norm by a whopping 18 months (which is an enormous gap at this age) in terms of linguistic capabilities. Meaning, they can’t speak their own language in an age-appropriate way. That’s a whole generation of kids with severe issues in the realm of verbal expression.
Iceland has a wonderful tradition of giving books as Christmas presents, with people reading into the night on Christmas Eve. However, even this may be under threat: in 2005, an Icelander received an average of 1.4 books as gifts at Christmas; this number is now 1.1, with 42% of Icelanders not receiving a single book for Christmas according to the most recent poll.
No, it ain’t English, that’s for sure. Just like in the case of the UK study I mentioned before, smartphones are the cause.