E-books have yet to take over from print – far from it, in fact – when it comes to Millennials, according to a survey by Publishing Technology.
The UK content solutions provider surveyed 1,000 Millennials – defined here as 18-to-34-year-olds – each in the US and UK to get a sense of how they did their reading over the previous year and found that when it came to books, their preferences remain firmly rooted in the physical world.
Only 1.6% of US respondents claimed they had gone "fully digital," while 3.7% in the UK said the same thing.
Of course, most consumers take a hybrid approach, and the survey found that 79% of US respondents had read a print book within the 12 months prior, while 47% of them had read an e-book on a tablet within that time and 36% on a mobile phone.
The situation in the UK looks similar: 64% had read a print book within 12 books, 28% had read an e-book on a tablet and 19% had done so on a mobile phone.
Preferences in the way Millennials acquire books reflected the same trend. Public libraries were top in the US, with 53% of respondents saying they "normally acquired" books this way. Chain bookstores are a very close second at 52%. Next in line are secondhand bookstores at 45%, and only then, in fourth, do e-commerce sites join the list, with 40%.
Again, findings are similar in the UK, where 43% said they normally acquired books from chain bookstores, while 38% used e-commerce sites. Public libraries, on the other hand, were only cited by 21% of the British respondents.
The fact that Millennials still cling to printed books may comes as a surprise for a population also referred to as "digital natives." However, this is not the first study to highlight the pattern.
In a Pew Internet study from 2012 of US respondents aged 16-29, 75% had read a print book in the previous year, while just 19% had read an e-book. This was similar when the school-age respondents were removed from the equation: among those aged 25-29, for example, 69% had read a printed book in the previous 12 months while only 20% had read an e-book.
Pew Internet's most recent look at such reading habits, released in 2014, had similar findings: 73% of 18-to-24-year-olds surveyed had read a print book within the last year, while just 37% of them had read an e-book.
Could the fact of being a digital native actually drive young people away from e-reading?
A college-age respondent in the 2012 Pew Internet study, in explaining his preference for an e-reader over other digital reading devices, said, "I don't like to read on computer screens similar to my tablet and computer monitors," which could also be a reason for opting for print.
Another reason? What's old is new again. A respondent in her late twenties said: "I prefer the overall experience of reading an actual book. It somehow feels more warm and personal." – AFP Relaxnews