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Koreans Spend Almost Zero on Books

Posted January. 04, 2006 03:03,   


Korean households spend just a little more than 10,000 won on books a month on average. The amount of money they spend on enhancing their appearance and eating out is 5.7 times and 23.6 times their expenditures on books, respectively.

According to the National Statistical Office, from July through September last year, the money spent on reading materials such as books, newspapers and magazines by one Korean household a month is 10,397 won on average, which is about 0.5 percent of consumer consumption, or 2,048,902 won. It rose by 2.5 percent compared with the same period last year (on average 10,148 won a month), but it is lower than a monthly newspaper subscription fee (12,000 won).

The money spent by Koreans on reading materials is a quarter of what Japanese people spend on books, about 4,576 yen (39,200 won), and about half of what Canadian people spend on books, 23.3 Canadian dollars (about 20,200 won) on average a month. One American household spends 10.58 dollars (about 10,600 won) on books on average, similar to the amount Korean households spend.

Spending on reading materials, excluding textbooks and study-aid books for students, includes newspaper subscription fees (around 12,000 won) and expenditures on children’s books, which implies that adults spend almost zero on books.

Meanwhile, average monthly spending on hairdos and accessories is 5.7 times the spending on books, or 59,611 won on average. The spending on eating out during the same period is 23.6 times Korea’s spending on books, or 245,807 won per month on average.

Koreans spend 63,587 won a month on movies or physical training facilities and 33,859 won on buying materials for hobbies. In all, Koreans spend 97,446 won a month on average for entertainment and pleasure.

Joong-Hyun Park sanjuck@donga.com