Researcher: People Still Read More Traditional Print Books Than E-Books
By Nyajai Ellison
In today’s digital era, Americans can consume their favorite book in a variety of ways, from print books to e-books to audio books.
But while the reading landscape has transformed overtime, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center found traditional print books have a dynamic future, regardless of the growing digital age.
Contrary to popular belief and predictions, people still prefer old-fashioned, ink written, tangible, cover-to-cover books, said Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research at the Pew Research Center.
“There are many more people reading printed books than are reading e-books, and that is contrary to what lots of people were predicting maybe a decade ago as e-books were coming online (and as) specialized e-book readers and tablet computers were making them available to more and more people.”
The survey found that of the 73 percent of American adults who read a book in the last 12 months, 65 percent of them read a print book — that’s more than double the 28 percent of those who read an e-book and more than four times the number of people who listened to an audio book, which is 14 percent.
Not only have these statistics remained largely unbothered since 2012 but, despite the general consensus and predictions made my technology forecasters, book reading has not died with millennials, Rainie said.
Technology forecasters predicted the e-book would promote the death of traditional print books and create a decline of book reading among millennials, Rainie said, but that has not played out as intensely as predicted.
People between ages 18 and 29 are slightly more likely to read traditional print books, e-books and a listen to a tad bit more audio books than Generation X, he said.
“There are ways that technology forecasters sort of get these things too enthusiastically wrong,” Rainie said. “They think technology is going to wipe out everything else, and it just doesn’t show up in our data in lots of ways, including printed books.”
Americans read an average of 12 books per year, and millennials are just as likely to have read 12 books in the past year as people who are older, Rainie said.
While devices such as e-readers have become more popular in recent years, Rainie said print books preserve well, are easily shareable, and portable, thus causing the traditional book to hold its ground.
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