"To make people love books and reading, we must insist on the fact that all genres, all formats and all ways of reading are legitimate and can be a source of joy and discovery," says Régine Hatchondo, president of the Center national du livre (CNL), which is launching this year, from June 22 to July 23, its ninth edition of the Partir en Livre festival, of which Le Point is a partner. This year, the festival takes place under the sign of freedom, the theme of the event. Freedom to choose his readings, his media, his favorite themes. Freedom to go towards the unknown, to discover new voices, to launch an assault on new horizons.
Sponsored by Antoine Dole, alias Mr. Tan, and Diane Le Feyer, creators of Mortelle Adèle, as well as the magician Éric Antoine, the festival will bring together from June 22 to July 23 more than 5,000 events throughout the territory, 850 authors and illustrators, 1,100 libraries and media libraries, 120 booksellers, 70 local authorities and 160 cultural and/or popular education associations. One of the highlights of the festival is the Livrodrome, a traveling literary amusement park, which will take you on a ten-date tour of France, from its launch in Paris, at the Center national du livre on June 22, to Marseille on July 21. , passing through Coucy-le-Château on June 29, Toul on June 30, Tulle on July 4, Brive-la-Gaillarde on July 7, Chalon-sur-Saône on July 11, and finally Lyon on July 18.
Le Point: The CNL launched the "reading barometer" this year. What conclusions came out?
Régine Hatchondo: This new study confirms the unequal fight between screens and books. The omnipresence of screens in our lives, especially among the youngest (the reading dropout around the age of 12, when entering college, is still very present and real, despite the attraction for manga), devours the time spent reading. While the French still associate reading with many positive values – 98% of them say that reading helps to open their minds or even to have fun at 96% – they must be helped to sanctuary a dedicated time to the book in their daily lives.
What does this barometer say about young people's reading habits?
Studies show that young people are redefining their relationship to reading. Overall, 81% of 7-25 year olds read for leisure, for personal taste. Excluding primary school students, this figure is somewhat lower, at 77%. But they do not read the same thing, nor in the same way as their elders. They adopt new reading practices, such as digital reading or podcasting, and are attentive to peer recommendations. This is why to make people love books and reading, we must insist on the fact that all genres, all formats and all ways of reading are legitimate and can be a source of joy and discovery. This was the meaning of our great book festival for young people, Partir en Livre.
How do you view alternative reading methods: on screen, digitally…?
The use of screens should not imprison you in solitude, but remain a source of sharing. Well used, screens can be an interesting reading medium: you can read a paper, digital and/or audio book, without the formats cannibalizing each other. These new practices are also important among young people (40% of 7-25 year olds have already read a digital book, mostly on a smartphone). Screens can also be a gateway to books: 29% of "leisure readers" choose a book after hearing about it on the internet or social media. We also know that series can make you want to read: 58% of young people choose a book after seeing a series or a film on a platform.
What are you doing to get young people reading?
In 2022, the CNL launched a multitude of initiatives within the framework of the reading declared "great national cause". In particular, we have developed residences and masterclasses for authors in schools in partnership with the Pass Culture (more than 3,000 meetings organized to date), as well as in summer camps and leisure centers during Partir en Livre, which is also the occasion of the tour of our "Livrodrome", itinerant amusement park which goes to meet young people and their families; everywhere in France. At the same time, we use social networks to share the pleasure of reading and invite young people to participate in our "real" events. For example, a book hunt is organized on July 8 in Lyon with the participation of the influencer Muffinsandbooks.
Young people bought books in phenomenal quantities at the last Paris Book Festival. Does this make you optimistic about the future of children's literature and the importance of reading for this audience?
The Paris Book Festival has done a very important job, upstream, with the classes, so that they can come and enjoy the event. The CNL offered Reading vouchers to young people to help them buy books. The stands dedicated to youth and meetings were also very rich. All of this has surely contributed to the success of the Festival with young people. We are fortunate, in France, to have not only an extraordinary public reading network, publishers, booksellers and committed authors, but also a very large number of festivals which bring literature to life and which develop ambitious programs to young people. Partir en Livre, which will bring together from June 22 to July 23 more than 5,000 events throughout the country, 850 authors and illustrators, 1,100 libraries and media libraries, 120 booksellers, 70 local authorities and 160 cultural and/or popular education associations , is a moment of celebration of this tremendous mobilization, everywhere in France.