Teens Snub e-Books; Choose Print

Calling the results “surprising,” an Australian research finds that teens are still choosing print over digital, in spite of the availability of e-readers and e-books.

“Joint research conducted by Melbourne’s Deakin University and Perth’s Murdoch University has found teenagers are still drawn to physical books, most preferring to engage with printed content despite the onslaught of digital,” writes April Glover in ProPrint.

“The findings – of which only interim results have been released – discovered more than 60 per cent of teenagers aged 12 to 16 who read regularly are turning pages on printed books. The research also shows 50 percent of young adults read frequently for pleasure,” Glover continued.

“The teenagers commented they appreciated the physical and sensory lure of a real book, and said printed texts are often more accessible and easier to handle than e-books,” noted Dr. Leonie Rutherford, the leader of the research project and professor at Deakin School of Communication and Creative Arts. “Those who we spoke to in-depth said they prefer the feel of a real object and the fact they can own a book and put it on the shelf.”

Dr. Rutherford says the findings were surprising, especially “in a world where teenagers are stereotyped as digital natives who snub print books.”

We’re not surprised at all. We know the stereotype of the young digital native is simply part of the myth surrounding young people and print. Previous research along a similar vein shows clearly that younger audiences are spending more time with print, and when it really matters, Millennials reach for print time and again.

“Rutherford’s pilot research also found a small portion of heavy teenage readers own both an eBook and still read printed text,” Glover notes, dispelling any potential availability issues playing into the preference.

We love the idea of teens with their noses buried in books…instead of staring at screens. And apparently so do they.