KUALA LUMPUR: The National Library will begin a survey to determine the latest reading profile of Malaysians in September.
Its director-general Datuk Zawiyah Baba said this was to ascertain whether Malaysians were reading more than the average of two books a year revealed in its 1996 survey.
We need to update the statistics. There are rough indications of people reading more now, based on the number of Malaysians using the public libraries and the number of bookstores opening in the city, she told reporters yesterday after the opening ceremony of the Meet the Publishers session at the library.
The 2004 survey, she added, would be more comprehensive and cover electronic sources of reading materials.
Results of the survey are scheduled for publication in November next year.
Deputy Education Minister Datuk Hon Choon Kim, who launched session, said the ministry had also commissioned the National Translation Institute to increase the number of books translated into Bahasa Malaysia to promote reading.
Unesco statistics showed that from 1998 to 2001, only 191 books had been translated into Bahasa Malaysia here, compared to 19,844 translated into Japanese in Japan, he said.
On Monday, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mahadzir Mohd Khir said the Government was in favour of reducing book prices to encourage more people to read.
We are thinking of speaking to publishers and booksellers to lower prices, especially of imported books, he told reporters after a meeting with five other ministries on this matter at the library.
The other ministries were Higher Education, Culture, Arts and Heritage, Housing and Local Government, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, and Information.