A new study shows that even though children are jumping on the digital bandwagon, many still prefer print content to digital. Forty-six percent of the 1,074 children, ages 6-17, responding to the biennial Kids & Family Reading Report from Scholastic Inc., said they had read an e-book, nearly double the percentages from in the 2010 survey.
In addition, half of the respondents said they would read more with better e-book access. The young people and their parents like the fact that e-books have dictionaries, highlighting features, and skill-building activities built in.
At the same time, respondents said that 80% of the books they read for fun were still the print versions and 58% of those surveyed always prefer print, even when an e-book is available. Respondents said they liked to hold a print book more than an electronic device, while their parents preferred print because books don't require batteries.
The same appears to be true when it comes to college students.
“Our students don’t really want to have e-books,” Julie K. Bartley, chair of the geology department at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “What I hear from them a lot of times is that they feel some sort of comfort in being able to hold the thing in their hands.”
Publishers are responding by offering “print-plus” alternatives, where options for textbooks are often print and digital, along with extras and enhancements. For instance, Norton does not offer an electronic version of its Anthology series, but does offer access codes to online quizzes, photo galleries, and audio recordings, for which students pay a fee.
“Increasingly, the issue is not either/or,” said Tim Stookesberry, vice president and editorial director for global education at publisher John Wiley & Sons. “It’s a both-and-all conversation.”