The Integrity Talks

The Dutch read less in their own language

The Integrity Talks

The Dutch read less in their own language, including e-books. The Dutch publications do not benefit from the growing popularity of books. 3 percent fewer books were sold in Dutch. In 2022, 0.4 percent more books were sold, and with 43 million copies even more than in the past 10 years. One in five books purchased in 2022 was not in Dutch. This is an increase of no less than 20 percent compared to 2021, the majority of which was in English. The CPNB, thus the association for the book trade in the Netherlands, presents those conclusions. The CPNB also showcases that the sales of individual e-books decreased a bit. And the number of paper books lent via the libraries increased by 34 percent to 51 million.

We still love to read in the Netherlands, sometimes even more than in other European countries, but we prefer international, thus English works. Though more of us visit physical bookstores and libraries after the pandemic, there is a large group that is open to other ways of attaining books. Some find this worrying, but I believe that it is a sign of changing times and democracy. See my essay on how the public should determine the existence of journalists and authors, not the elite, to understand more about the changing dynamics.

As to worrying about preserving our language, I am not the person to prioritize the Dutch language and culture, for the sake of maintaining a literary climate in the Netherlands long-term. Others can work on that goal. I’d rather focus on connecting, meaning globalizing ideas, through using the English language, and different forms of publishing.

Source: BNNVARA, Joop.