The volume of books sold has been steadily decreasing over the past decade and amounted to 419.2 million units sold in 2018. Despite this decrease, France produces more books than ever, so much so that the number of legal deposit entries has reached new heights in 2018. More books but less copies seems to be the new standard, as the average number of copies dropped sharply.
Far from being the prerogative of any gender or age brackets, reading is considered a widespread cultural activity by most of the French population. Reading is first and foremost a hobby and many people, young and old alike, read to enjoy themselves, to learn and discover new things. Still, one quarter of respondents claimed that reading is important for being well-regarded in society and 40 percent said the same about succeeding in their professional lives.
Despite the popularity spike of e-books, printed books remain the most popular reading format among the French population. 83 percent of French people indeed read books in printed format, whereas only less than one quarter of them read digital ones. Digital books come in handy as one third of French readers like to read in public spaces. Even though almost all readers enjoy reading in their home or in another private setting, more than half the population like to read on the plane or in a train during occasional trips. Avid readers tend to read strictly printed books, as 22 percent of them read 20 books or more per year, whereas the majority of digital readers read between zero and four books a year.