At the same time, more people are buying books that teach Asian languages, RBK says
The number of English language textbooks sold in Russia has dropped by a third during the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, the news agency RBK reported on Saturday, citing the data from the country’s largest bookstore chain.
A similar decline in sales was recorded for books that teach other major European languages, namely German (29%), Italian (27%), French (24%), and Spanish (8%), RBK wrote after analyzing the statistics provided by Chitay-gorod – Bukvoyed, which runs some 700 shops across the country.
The sales of Japanese language textbooks also dropped by 14%. In the meantime, the sales went up for the books that teach Korean (9%), Chinese (4%), and Turkish (1%).
Despite the continuing tensions with the US and its allies, English language textbooks still make up the majority of language textbooks sold in Russia at Chitay-gorod – Bukvoyed stores, followed by those that teach Chinese and Korean.
Journalists also spoke to AST and Prosveshcheniye publishing houses, which noted that books for those wanting to study English continue to be in demand, but the sales of textbooks in Asian languages are growing as well.
Russian officials have endorsed the popularization of the Chinese language as Moscow seeks to reroute some of its supply chains damaged by the Western sanctions. The demand for workers who can speak Chinese grew by 40% during the first three months of 2022, RBK reported last year, citing recruiting service HeadHunter. In August, Andrey Fursenko, education and science adviser at the Kremlin, said that more Chinese classes would be included in the curriculum of top research universities.
At the same time, the interest in learning Chinese, Korean and Turkish is growing in Russia thanks to TV shows and music. “The main drivers of the popularity of these three languages are media content and pop culture, as well as academic and career opportunities,” the publisher AST said.
November 06, 2023 at 09:17AM