Reading habits might be fundamentally changing, but a new survey suggests that the printed word remains fundamental.
Although many people who own Kindles, Nooks, and other eReader devices love their gadgets, they still prefer books the old-fashioned way—on paper—according to a poll by USC Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times.
Even with sales of eReaders surging, only 10 percent of respondents who have one said they had abandoned traditional books. More than half said most or all of the books they read are in printed form.
The pleasure of reading endures in the digital age, even with its nearly boundless options for entertainment, according to data collected from 1,500 registered California voters. Six in 10 people said they like to read “a lot,” and more than 20 percent reported reading books for more than 10 hours a week.
Young adults—often assumed to be uninterested—read about as much as many of their elders. An overwhelming portion (84 percent) of those ages 18 to 29 said they like to read some or a lot; that’s only a percentage point less than for respondents 50 and older. Sixty-five percent of the younger group said they read books for pleasure three or more hours a week; 69 percent of those 50 to 64 said the same.
And age is clearly no barrier to new habits. Folks over 50 are embracing some new reading technology at about the same rate as younger people. Twenty-two percent of those ages 18 to 49 own eReaders; 20 percent of people 50 and older have them.
“I don’t read a whole lot of print anymore,” said Edmund Pieret, 71, an avid reader from Belmont, Calif., south of San Francisco. “Since I have an iPhone and a Kindle, I can read anytime I want. If I’m at the doctor’s office, I can pull up any book I own and continue where I left off.”
Reading while relaxing in his spa used to leave Pieret with warped pages and damp bindings. The solution: putting his Kindle in a Ziploc bag.
How much education people have helps determine how much—and how—they read, the poll shows. More than 7 in 10 college-educated respondents said they read “a lot,” while only half of those with no college said they did. Those who went to college also are more likely to use an eReader.
Owners of eReaders are more likely to read books, read more books, and spend more hours each week reading. About 4 in 10 said they devoured four or more books a month.
Technology has turned Fred Kaviani away from the printed book.