“So Icelanders love books. And that love involves most of the population, according to Baldur Bjarnason, a researcher who has written on the Icelandic book industry. …
In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.
Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what’s really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It’s a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the “Christmas Book Flood.”
“The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday” … “Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading.”
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