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Do ‘Digital Natives’ Prefer Paper Books to E-Books?

23 November 2016

From Education Week:

As digital devices and access to e-books proliferated in schools and homes over the past several years, some ed-tech experts expected that print books would soon become relics—or at least fall out of favor with a generation growing up in an electronic world.

But, in a wrinkle in the digital revolution, that hasn’t transpired—at least not yet.

More children now know what it’s like to read an e-book—61 percent in 2014 compared with 25 percent in 2010, according to Scholastic’s 2015 Kids and Family Reading report.

But most students still opt to turn actual pages. In the Scholastic survey, 65 percent of children ages 6 to 17 agreed they would always want to read in print, up from 60 percent in 2012. And 77 percent who had tried e-reading said that the majority of the books they read were in print. That was especially true for younger readers when reading for pleasure: 84 percent of 6- to 8-year-olds read mostly on paper, compared with 62 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds.

Link to the rest at Education Week

Ebooks in Education

13 Comments to “Do ‘Digital Natives’ Prefer Paper Books to E-Books?”

  1. I definitely prefer print books. I am in front of a screen 8+ hours at work, 1 hour at the gym, and 2-4 more hours in front of the TV or computer at home–and even more after that if I’m writing. Physical books to me are a pleasant break for my eyes.

  2. “Do ‘Digital Natives’ Prefer Paper Books to E-Books?”

    Title be a question, so ‘no’ unless of course you ask my niece who would ‘die’ if her cell phone did. She sounds like she reads the same things we do of ‘the touch and smell’ of real books (and she didn’t like my jab about the odor off the mildewed ones after they had a leak.)

    Oh, and please define ‘Digital Natives’ for me, I’ve been reading on a computer screen since the old BBS days and prefer ebooks.

  3. Of course the information the survey isn’t showing is where the kids are getting their books. Many kids are gifted books or utilize the library both of which default to paper books in most circumstances.
    I personally don’t see paper going completely away but this once again seems to be a survey with a predetermined point to prove.

    • ‘..with a predetermined point to prove.’ Yes.

      Here in Australia, most of the ‘books’ young school and kinder aged children are exposed to are large picture books with little text. I know Amazon is trying to make it possible to create picture books for kids on Kindle but I don’t know how successful it’s been.

      Rephrase the question to ‘how do kids like to see stories’ and you’d probably get a very different answer.

      • Yep. I didn’t see any reference to their controlling for what they read. I’m assuming from the age group that traditional picture books aren’t an issue – but my children have an extensive collection of print books. The majority of them manga (which, from the few forays I’ve made into combined text and visual offerings on the Internet – still just aren’t there so far as comparing to the quality of the printed offerings).

        Note that most web comic artists also do a good business at selling printed volumes of their strips.

  4. Don’t know if I qualify as a Digital Native at my age, but am most definitely a (very) early adopter.

    For most books, I now prefer a digital format. Much more portable. I can easily carry a thousand books anywhere. Originally, I excluded reference books and instructional books, preferring those in a paper format. Lately, I’ve been buying reference books as ebooks too.

    What I think is unlikely to change is my love for paper. A few special editions I have bought in hardcover (as well as ebook). For my textbooks (most of them) I like to write notes and comments in the margins, so I’m back to paper format for that. There are fewer books where I do that, however.

    I do love books, including paper books. I have a few scroll books (mostly chinese) and I do read them. They’re not just keepsakes. My paper library is too large, but I keep adding to it. However, the powerful advantage of ebooks cannot be denied.

    Note the historical trend from more permanent forms to more ephemeral forms that the book has taken: From clay tablets to electrons. Clay is dirt-cheap, easy to erase, but bulky. Burn a library of clay tablets and all that happens is that the tablets become fire-hardened and more permanent. Paper is more expensive, much harder to erase or reuse, but far more fragile. It succeeded because it offered greater portability. Now the electrons, infinitely more fragile are replacing (most) paper. The inescapable historical preference people seem to have is for greater portability and information density.

  5. I’m sure I don’t qualify as a “digital native,” but I thoroughly and definitively prefer ebooks. I just read the last Temeraire book in hardback this weekend, and my wrists and hands grew so weary. I kept wishing I’d waited until our library had it as an ebook, and then waited still longer in the inevitable line. Before the advent of ebooks, I simply accepted that long novels were going to be annoying to hold while reading. The pleasure of the immersive experience was worth the wrist pain. Now that there’s a better option…not so much.

    • Especially hardcovers. I started propping them up with pillows years ago, to save my arms and hands. Otherwise, no four hour + reading marathons for me. I love my little, (and light) eink reader!

    • The usual definition I’ve seen of “Digital Native” boils down to “Folks who’ve never known a world in which texting and the World Wide Web were normal and ordinary.” But it’s usually actually worded more like “People who grew up with the Internet.”

      By the second definition, I’m a “digital native.” I’ve been on the internet continuously since…. um…. [relates year-in-school to calendar year]… I was 7. That was in 1969, when there were 3 nodes on the net. Total.

      I take great glee in pointing out to the marketing types who talk about “digital natives” that the definition they use fails to accurately capture the demographic they intend to target. ‘Splody-heads are FUN!

  6. Al the Great and Powerful

    I found it easier and easier to put those Temeraire novels down until now I am unwilling to pick one up.

    That’s mostly due to Novik’s apparent desire to make every consequence worse for the protagonists, in as mean-spirited a fashion as I’ve seen since Adam Hardy’s “Fox” series of Napoleonic-era naval fiction. Whenever Fox could lose, he did. Throughout the 14-novel series, which I finished only because I was a completist at the time and wildly into Napoleonic naval fiction.

    I love the few pbooks I have left, but I have given/donated thousands of books away in the last 15 years (in excess of ten thousand counting the pulp magazine collection too).

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