In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29. Kathryn Zickuhr, the study’s main author, joins NPR’s David Greene to discuss the results.
ON THE READING HABITS OF YOUNG AMERICANS
“We found that about 8 in 10 Americans under the age of 30 have read a book in the past year. And that’s compared to about 7 in 10 adults in general, American adults. So, they’re reading — they’re more likely to read, and they’re also a little more likely to be using their library.”
ON THE USE OF E-BOOKS AMONG YOUNG READERS
“We heard from e-book readers in general [that] they don’t want e-books to replace print books. They see them as part of the same general ecosystem; e-books supplement their general reading habits. And we heard from a lot of younger e-book readers about how e-books just fit into their lives — how they can read when they’re waiting in line for class, or waiting in line for lunch. One reader in particular told us that when he has a book that he loves, he wants to be able to access it in any format. So with the Harry Potter series and the [Song of Ice and Fire] series, he’s actually bought all of those books as print books and as e-books, just because they matter that much to him …
“We haven’t seen for younger readers that e-books are massively replacing print books. That might happen in the future, but right now we’re just seeing them sort of as a more convenient Continue reading →
Don’t count print books obsolete just yet — especially when it comes to younger kids. A study released today by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shows that even among parents who like reading e-books with their kids, the majority still prefer to read print books over e-books with their children.
The survey, which included 1,200 parents of children age 2 to 6, showed that, of those who owned iPads (462 in total), an overwhelming majority — 89.9 percent — said they read mostly print books and some e-books, compared to 7.5 percent who say they read print books and e-books equally with their children, and only 2.7 percent who read mostly or exclusively e-books.
But the report also draws an interesting conclusion about how print books or e-books (in this case, iPads with multimedia features) are alternately preferred in certain situations. During times when parents want to read with their kids (co-read, as the report calls it), print books are preferred, even when e-books are available. But parents prefer e-books when they’re traveling or commuting.
Mixed reactions were reported in other aspects too. Although parents recognize that e-books can play a role in developing their kids’ literacy skills, especially when kids are reading alone, many iPad owners — a full one-third surveyed — said that sometimes “it’s just too difficult to read with a child on digital devices, and nearly as many are worried the child would start to want to use the iPad all the time.” Overall, in fact, 60 percent of parents said they prefer their child to read traditional print books.