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1143.0.55.001 - Directory of Culture and Leisure Statistics, 2002  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/08/2002   
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To collect information about the book-reading habits of Australians.


The Book Reading collection was conducted as part of a study of book buying and borrowing in Australia that took place in November 1994 and also included the Book buyers Survey and the Library users Survey. Questions relating to Book Reading were included on the questionnaire for that month's Population Survey Monitor (PSM) collection. Interviewers conducted a total of about 2,460 interviews Australia-wide. The questions asked referred to the reading, purchasing and borrowing of books during various time periods immediately preceding interview. The PSM covered all usual residents aged 18 years and over in private dwellings in both urban and rural areas of all States and Territories of Australia. However, persons living in remote and sparsely settled areas were excluded from the collection. All persons living in non-private dwellings were also excluded. Usually coverage was limited to persons aged 18 years and over. However, for the Book Reading collection, this was extended to also include persons aged 15 to 17 years.






Population aged 15 years and over

The number of persons in Australia aged 15 years and over.

Type of material read during the previous week

Records the categories of reading material a person read during the previous week. The categories are:

Book reading status

Indicates whether a person read books during the previous week.

Reasons for reading

Records the reasons for a person reading books during the previous week. The reasons are:
Formal study
General information
Other reasons

Source from which book obtained

Records the sources from which a person obtained the book(s) which they read during the previous week. The sources are:
Recent purchase
Recent gift
Borrowed from another household
Borrowed from library
Long term possession

Book procurement status

Indicates whether a book procured by a person was purchased or borrowed.

Time of last book procurement

Records the time frame in which a person last procured a book. The time frames are:
Last week
Last month (but not last week)
Last six months (but not last month)
Over six months ago
Can't remember or don't know
Can't read

Reasons for not reading

Records the reasons which persons who never purchase or borrow books give for not reading. The reasons are:
No time available
Prefer other activities
Difficult getting to a library
Books are too expensive
TV is more relaxing
No local book store
Difficulty reading
Don't know

Number of books procured

The number of books a person procured during the previous week.

Type of book procured

Records the types of book a person procured during the previous week. The types of book are:
Adult fiction
Poetry and plays
Children's books
Biographies and autobiographies
History books
Self-help books
Text books
Other non-fiction

Australian origin status

Indicates whether a book was of Australian origin; i.e. was published in Australia, was written by an Australian or had significant Australian content.

General reasons for procuring books

Records the general reasons for procuring books during the previous week. The reasons are:
Relaxation, etc. for self
Relaxation, etc. for family
Needed for work by self
Needed for work by family
Formal study for self
Formal study for family member
Christmas gift
Other gift
Other purpose

Reasons for procuring particular books

Records the reasons for procuring particular books during the previous week. The reasons are:
Recommended by family or friend
Required for study purpose
Saw or heard book review
Saw or heard book advertised
Books on sale at a reduced price
Following a particular author or series
Browsing and attracted by flyleaf/cover
Interested by this type of book/subject
Other reason

Source from which book purchased

Records the sources from which books were purchased by persons aged 18 years and over. The sources are:
Department stores
Book stores
Book Clubs
Mail order distributors
Book fair, fete or market

Source from which book borrowed

Indicates whether a book, borrowed by a person aged 18 years and over, was obtained from a friend or a library.

Frequency of book procurement

Records the range of frequency with which a person, aged 18 years and over, procured books. The frequency ranges are:
Every week
Once or twice a month
Every one to three months
Every four to six months
Less often than every six months
Don't know

Attitudes to book prices

Records the attitudes of book procurers to the price of books as compared to the price of selected other forms of entertainment. The categories of attitude are:
Don't know

This data item is used to classify attitudes to the price of books as compared to the price of:
Cinema admission
Video hire
Compact disc purchase

Australian book reader status

Indicates whether a person read, in the last six months, Australian books in the categories of Adult fiction, Poetry and plays, Children's or Biography.

Opinions of books

Records the opinions which readers have about Australian books in the categories of Adult fiction, Poetry and plays, Children's or Biography, which they read in the last six months. The categories of opinion are:
Just OK
Not worth reading
Don't know

Comparison with overseas books

Records the opinions readers have with regard to how Australian books compare with overseas books. The categories of opinion are:
Don't know

Frequency of reading aloud to children

Records the frequency with which persons with children under ten years old read aloud to them. The categories of frequency are:
Every day
A few times a week
Once a week
Once a month
Less than once a month
Hard to say/don't know
Don't read to children

Geographic area

Data are available for Australia only.

Demographic characteristics

Demographic characteristics for which information is available include:
Country of birth
Household size
Age group of any children

Socioeconomic characteristics

Socioeconomic characteristics for which information is available include:
Labour force status (employed, unemployed or not in the labour force)
Main activity of those not employed in the labour force
Educational attainment
Occupation (1-digit ASCO)
Household income

Other topics of interest

Other topics about which data were collected as part of the Population Survey Monitor in November 1994 were:

Attendance at botanic gardens
Children’s participation in sport and physical activities
Health risk factors
Participation in gambling
Spectator sports


Similar data were collected by the Australia Council in 1978 and 1989.



Australia Council for the Arts 1995, Books: Who's Reading Them Now? - A study of book buying and borrowing in Australia, Australia Council, Sydney. Price on application.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 1995, Population Survey Monitor, Australia, November 1994, Cat. no. 4103.0, ABS, Canberra. Price $10.00.


In the first instance, refer to To obtain data or further information in the Introduction to this directory.

National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
GPO Box 2272

Telephone: Adelaide 08 8237 7326
Facsimile: Adelaide 08 8237 7366

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