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Which country reads most? (Hint: It's not the US)

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Robert Marquand

(Read caption) Ashu, a second-grader living in Mumbai, peruses a book.

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According to new information from the NOP World Culture Score Index, residents of India and of Thailand spend the most time reading per week of the countries measured, while the US trails behind at number 22.

According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, residents of India spend an average of 10.42 hours a week reading. Thailand came in at number two with residents reading an average of 9.24 hours every week and China was third with 8 hours. The Philippines followed with an average of 7.36 and Egypt was fifth with an average of 7.30.

The average time an American spends reading is 5.42 hours. 

io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders discussed the new data in her column titled "Does anybody read books the right way anymore?," noting that adults sitting down on the sofa with a title and poring over it for hours is less and less common.

"We've never had more distractions keeping us from focusing totally on a book as we have today," Anders wrote. "...Now that we read on e-readers and phones, do we tend to read a few minutes at a time, instead of sitting in a chair for an hour or two?"

Anders noted that reading in short bursts mean we get less immersed in a story.

"It does feel, subjectively, as though when I pick up a book for a spell here and there, I tend to forget the details of the plot more and maybe get less engrossed in the story," she wrote. "And books, even more than television or movies, may reward sustained, slow attention in a way that can't be replicated with speed-reading apps and random glances."

We wonder how that average is spread out across the country, especially considering another recent survey by Central Connecticut State University president John Miller which studied which US cities are the most well-read. Washington, D.C. topped the list, while Seattle came in second and Minneapolis was third.

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