Print Books Still Going Strong, According to Pew Research

cropped-img_6524.jpgI found an interesting study this morning as I was doing some research for an article. The Pew Research Internet Project surveyed adults and teens on their reading habits. It seems that print books are far from dead – in fact, they’re still going strong!

Here’s the study: A Snapshot of Reading in America 2013

I’m currently reading Joel Friedlander’s book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion, where he makes a similar argument but seems to lament the demise of print books. Friedlander is a book designer, and he writes excellent articles and blog posts on book design, format and self publishing if you are interested in this topic.

Here’s my take on the subject. I think both print and ebooks have a place in the world and that print will never die. Okay, maybe in some 2525 future when we have robot servants and hover cars, print books may be archaic curiosities. But there is something wonderful about the tactile experience of reading.

I’m a high-scoring tactile learner, meaning I learn by touch, by doing. Reading an actual book, flipping through the pages, underlining in pencil salient points…these are all things you just can’t do with an ebook reader! I don’t mind buying ebooks as long as I can buy them in PDF format. Why? Because I print the darned things on my home computer.

Findings from the study include the following fascinating points:

  • Reading isn’t dead. Seven out of 10 American adults read at least one print book last year (yay!)
  • Women were much more likely than men to read a book, at 82% compared to 64%.
  • Higher income and education levels corresponded to a greater propensity for reading, but even among poorer, high school graduates, more than 64% read a book last year.

Despite what pundits are saying, despite cries that libraries are becoming nothing more than community computer centers, despite the nay-sayers who declare that the internet will make purchased books obsolete…the world of reading and writing continues to thrive.

So here’s to books, books, and more books – whether printed, electronic or audio!



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