Only 25 per cent of youths read books other than textbooks and the proportion of leisure readers is higher in urban India, says a study, which also found that the performance of northeastern states is much better in comparison.
The study published by National Book Trust in association with National Council of Applied Economic Research said
Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram occupy the top slot with 67 per cent leisure readers followed by Assam with 41 per cent.
Comparing these states with Maharashtra, it said the figure in the western state was only 34 per cent.
The results were based on the National Youth Readership Survey -2009, which will be released by HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju tomorrow. In all, 38,575 people between 13-35 years were covered.
It said that 73 per cent of the youth in Bihar, 45-47 per cent in NE region, 34 per cent in Maharashtra and 41 per cent in the rest of the country are found to be fiction readers.
In all, there were 42 per cent fiction readers and 24 per cent non-fiction readers in the country as a whole.
The results revealed that while northeastern states have 43 per cent leisure readers, the central states in comparison have the largest block (85 per cent) of non-readers.
"It is also noticed that the north-eastern region has the highest proportion of literate youth hailing from rural areas, while in the remaining parts of India, the concentration of literate youth is more towards urban," the survey said.
Focusing on the northeast, it said this region is home to a relatively higher proportion (23 per cent) of the literate youth from Scheduled Tribe (ST) community.
Moreover, a relatively higher concentration of Muslim literate youth is noticed in this part since about one-third of the literate youth in this region are Muslims, followed by another 18 per cent Christians.
Though Assam is known as the entry point to the northeastern states with comparatively improved infrastructure and better economic prospects, the survey said the proportion of leisure book readers in the state (39 per cent) is much lower than in Mizoram (62 per cent), Manipur (52 per cent) and Nagaland (47 per cent).
It said the percentage of youth who read leisure books in rural areas is the highest in Nagaland (57 per cent) and lowest in Arunachal Pradesh (12 per cent).
Price, it revealed, is the most important factor in this region while purchasing leisure books, followed by subject and author profile.
For rural Maharashtra, subject is the most important weighing factor while the next important factor is price which has only a marginal amount of higher support over the author profile, it said.
The survey was conducted by adopting face-to-face interviews of the sample youths using a questionnaire-based approach to increase accuracy and ensure adequate item response.