ONE in four men in Scotland never reads a book for enjoyment, according to a survey.
Research by Ipsos Mori for the Scottish Book Trust found 22% of men never pick up a novel or get hooked on fiction.
Additional analysis from the Charities Aid Foundation also found half of men do nothing for charity.
The trust has now recruited 20 Scottish “Bookfellas” to try and reverse those trends by raising £1,000 each through reading-related stunts.
They include crime author Ian Rankin and comedian Fred MacAulay, who will be joined by journalists, entrepreneurs and bloggers to encourage reading among men during Book Week Scotland 2016.
Rankin said: “As a writer I’m obviously passionate about books and keen that everyone should be reading.
“But I’m also a dad and reading to my sons was an important bond between us when they were young. Now they’re grown, we still share stories and the thrill of those early adventures lingers, hopefully to be passed on.”
Among the others taking part is novelist Peter Ranscombe, who wrote the book Hare about Scotland’s most notorious murders.
He said: “Reading is really magic – it helps to raise attainment for children at school, it can lead on to better job opportunities, and it gives you a world into which you can escape when life gets stressful.
“I chose to get involved with Bookfellas because I want to help share that magic with men and their children.”
Author events will see writers and illustrators visit libraries in every local authority over Book Week Scotland.
Alexander McCall Smith, Liz Lochhead, Christopher Brookmyre, Lisa McInerney, Jenni Fagan, Jill Mansell, Simon Scarrow, Isabel Greenberg, Clare Mackintosh and Jodi Picoult are all involved.
Fundraising activities planned to encourage reading include climbing a mountain and reciting a scene from King Lear, celebrating The 39 Steps by walking 39km, running a whisky and literature tour, and making a film about 10 fathers reading books to their families.
Marc Lambert, CEO of the Scottish Book Trust, said: “Our Bookfellas campaign aims to bring together Scotland’s most driven, committed and generous men who believe in the power of reading as a way to unlock the potential of people in Scotland.
“Numerous studies have shown that fewer men read for pleasure than women, and we know that only a quarter of dads under 25 read to their children, compared to over 60% of mums in the same age group.
“There is still time for book-loving men to sign up for this initiative – we’d ideally like to have Bookfellas in every local authority in Scotland.”