Friday, December 23, 2016

Celebrate Jólabókaflóð - The Book Flood

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world. The Nordic island with a population of 329,000, loves to read and write. They publish five titles for every 1,000 Icelanders. That means one in 10 Icelanders will publish. The majority of books are sold from late September to early December. 

On Christmas Eve, Icelanders exchange books during, jólabókaflóð, the "Christmas Book Flood."

Iceland's literary history dates to medieval times. Landmarks of world literature, including the Sagas of the Icelanders and the Poetic Edda, are still read and translated.

According to Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written on the Icelandic book industry, "If you look at book sales distribution in the U.K. and the States, most book sales actually come from a minority of people. Very few people buy lots of books. Everybody else buys one book a year if you're lucky. It's much more widespread in Iceland. Most people buy several books a year."

Designated a UNESCO City of Literature, Reykjavik has a population of 200,000 people. Within that small group, the city's library book loans total 1.2 million in one year.  A popular television show in Iceland, Kiljan is devoted entirely to books.

Bjarnason continues, "The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift, you give a physical book. You don't give e-books here."

On Christmas Eve enjoy the power of the book flood. 

Take time to cuddle with chocolate and a fun book.

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