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Jolabokaflod - frogplate - 26 Dec 2014 01:15 AM

I visited Iceland just after the Third Cod War and wondered what sort of reception English tourists would get. I didn't need to have worried; the people were lovely and incredibly friendly. They are also one of the most literate people in the world. Every year around 700 to 800 books are published in Iceland - that doesn't sound many until you realise that the population of the entire country is well under a third of million people. They are heavy readers, perhaps due to the long dark winters, buying a lot of books and heavily using the libraries.

I was reminded of all this on Christmas Eve. Traditionally books are published in Iceland in December in a "Jolabokaflod" (Christmas Book Flood) and books are popular Christmas gifts. Presents are given on Christmas Eve and it is common to spend that night snuggled up in bed with a new book and a good supply of chocolate.

Perhaps because books are so often given as gifts eReaders have been slow to take off in Iceland - though I've found a lot of good Icelandic thrillers in English translation available as ebooks here.

For more about the Icelandic book market and reading habits see: