The first ever Reading Assessment Survey among the youth of India, conducted by National Book Trust and the National Institute of Applied Economic Research, reveals that only a quarter of literate Indian youths (one in four) aged 13 to 35 years are interested in reading anything other than textbooks; among the ones doing leisure reading, Punjabi is the least preferred of languages.
Hindi is the most favoured for leisure readers who prefer fantasy novels the most and current affairs magazines the least.
Following Hindi among the top 10 preferred languages for reading in the country are Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Malyalam and Gujarati. English is a distant seventh, followed by Oriya and Assamese.
The survey reveals for the first time that a majority—41.7% of literate Indian youth—read fiction, with 18.5% picking up fantasy novels while only 6.5% going for the Mills and Boons kind of romance fiction. Science fiction interests barely 8.4% youngsters, who prefer classics (16.3%) and comics (17.5%) better.