Teenagers in Britain and Ireland are more likely to have a computer at home than 25 books, according to a UNESCO survey.
The international survey of 13 and 14-year-olds shows that 81 per cent of that age group in England had more than 25 books at home, but 89 per cent had a computer. In Ireland the figures were 77 and 78 per cent respectively.
In every other country, from the US, Sweden, Hong Kong and France, the proportion of homes with 25 books was higher than those with a computer.
Schools minister Stephen Byers expressed concern at the figures. He said:
"The desire to embrace technology must not be at the expense of reading."