Despite the growing popularity of e-books, young people are still partial to print — more than their parents, in fact.
Three of four Americans ages 16-29 have read at least one book in print in the past year, compared with 64 percent of people ages 30 or older, and both groups visit the library and borrow print books at similar rates, according to a Pew Research Center study released this week.
The findings contradict the popular notion that teens and young adults are abandoning physical books for their digital counterparts, said Kathryn Zickuhr, one of the researchers.
“E-books aren’t necessarily a replacement for print books,” she said. “A lot of people, especially really avid readers, told us many of them still love the physicality of print books. But they also told us e-books are a way to fit more reading into their day if they’re traveling or on the go.”
Columbus-area libraries have seen similar trends among young patrons, though e-book use has continued to grow. So far this year, patrons have taken out about 400,000 e-books and audiobooks from Columbus Metropolitan Library branches, with administrators expecting this year’s tally to surpass last year’s total of 550,000, said technical services manager Heidi Dowling.
Though most young people are “digital natives,” the continued use of print texts in schools is one reason digital reading hasn’t caught on as expected, said Kathy Shahbodaghi, the library public-services director.
“Teens and younger adults come from schools that are still highly print-based,” she said. “A lot of librarians and parents have worked hard to make them love books — print books — and so there’s still that attachment and reliance.”