I’m skeptical of the hidden agenda suggested by this article in Ha’Aretz but you can judge for yourself.
The piece suggests that the rise of bookstore chains (most notably Steimatzky’s) has had aÂ “massive impact” on Israeli literary tastes and has contributed to turning the People of the Book into the People ofÂ the Bestseller.
Here’s a quote from Professor Menahem Perry of the Hebrew Literature Department at Tel Aviv University:
Â Bookstores have a huge influence on our reading and nowadays most book sales are done at Steimatzky and Tzomet Sfarim. I don’t see how that will change. The problem is that these chains have interests that consumers are unaware of. They exercise tremendous power over the consumers. The phenomenon that one enters a bookstore and finds a variety of classics like in Europe and America does not exist here.
Maybe.Â I’d still bet that Israelis read far more than the average American. But, that’s just my two shekels.
Crossposted at JewishLiteraryReview.com.