It's fascinating to hear about the place books and reading have in other countries and cultures, and Madeline's post here - following her recent visit to Iceland - links to a very interesting article about the Jolabokaflod or Icelandic Christmas Book Flood.
According to the article, not only does Iceland publish more books per capita than any other country, "the culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday", and by the sound of it, no set of presents would be complete without a bookish element. While in the UK and US, "very few people buy lots of books", and thus many people buy few or no books, book-buying in Iceland is much more widespread with most people buying several books a year. If you read on through the article you'll also see mention of the Bokatidindi or book catalogue which is distributed free to every home by the Icelandic Publishers Association - and crucially is read - and which thus starts the annual 'book flood' around this time of year. More power to you, sensible Icelanders!
I couldn't leave this subject without at least a token reference to Icelandic books themselves, though the only one I've read at all recently is Sjón's The Blue Fox, but that post links back to the great sagas - which could be said to have forged the Icelandic literary tradition - which I lapped up as a student, and I do have two novels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson waiting to be read.