Posted on January 31, 2015
The charm of printed words is fading away in Qatar and the craze for movies is peaking, according to report released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, The Peninsula said.
 
The number of people going to cinema halls has surged by 41 percent in recent years while the number of books borrowed from public libraries has plunged by 30 percent. The number of books borrowed from libraries has dropped from 61,888 in 2011 to 43,090 in 2013, according to the 29th issue of ‘Qatar in Figures’ report. The number of average cinema audience per day reached 6,146 in 2013 from 4,357 in 2011.
 
“The current generation is not dependent on books for information and entertainment, they use social media for information and fun. Books were the main source of information a decade earlier,” said Tauseef Hussian, a civil engineer in an infrastructure company here. “The decline in number of book lovers and increasing popularity of movies is not unique here. It is a global trend and technology is one the main factors behind it,” he said. The number of people going to cinema halls jumped by 40 percent to 2,243,352 in 2013 from 1,603,000 in 2012. “My 10-year-old son reads stories on his tablet while I used to read stories from books in my childhood,” said Javed Mohammed, who lives in Najma. “Every weekend he demands to visit cinema hall and seldom asks for story books,” he added.

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The Internet has given multiple information and entertainment options. Access to the Internet is rising fast in Qatar because of falling prices of Internet data plans. The declining prices of computers, smartphones and tablets have increased their usage. The rise in number of audience continues despite a decline in the number of cinema halls. There were 38 halls at 2011-end and the count dropped to 31 at 2013-end. The number of libraries has remained stable at seven since 2011.
 
According to the report, the number of book borrowers has declined by 22 percent. Around 31,000 people borrowed books in 2011 and 24,186 in 2013. The craze for non-Arabic films is growing in Qatar. A total of 868 movies were released in 2013, of which 817 were non-Arabic and 51 Arabic.

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