A total of 97,829 books were sold at the Icelandic Publishers’ Association book fair in Reykjavík, which ended yesterday, RÚV reports. That is over one book sold for every four residents of Iceland – or every 2.5 residents of the capital area. A recent study found that Icelanders read or listen to an average of 2.4 books per month.
The Icelandic Publishers’ Association has held a book fair since 1952, and this year’s edition ran from February 23 to March 12 at Laugardalsvöllur in Reykjavík. Bryndís Loftsdóttir, the fair’s CEO, says Icelanders are clearly excited about reading. “The last four years have been difficult, both because of the pandemic, but also because of crazy precipitation that also made it hard for us. But even though the weather has been cold now there’s nothing better than coming here and getting a good book and then snuggling up on the couch at home.”
Around 50% of the books sold at the market this year were children’s books. Fiction accounted for another 20%, while nonfiction books and puzzle books accounted for the remaining 30%.
A survey conducted last year by the Icelandic Literature Centre found that over a third of Icelanders read or listen to books on a daily basis. The average number of books read per month had risen between 2021 and 2022. In early 2022, audiobooks accounted for a third of books read in Iceland.