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62% of 16 To 24-Year-Olds Prefer Printed Books Over eBooks 331

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-i-can't-throw-my-book-at-somebody-what's-the-point-of-owning-it dept.
assertation writes "According to The Guardian, 62% of readers between the age of 16 and 24 prefer physical copies of books over ebooks. Reasons given were the feel of 'real books,' a perceived unfairly high cost for eBooks, and the ease of sharing printed books. 'On questions of ebook pricing, 28% think that ebooks should be half their current price, while just 8% say that ebook pricing is right.' The preference for physical copies was in contrast to other forms of media, such as games, movies, and music, where a majority preferred the digital version."
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62% of 16 To 24-Year-Olds Prefer Printed Books Over eBooks

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  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by assertation (1255714) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:09PM (#45541111)

    The article was about 16 - 24 year olds. They probably already know how to pirate. Ease of sharing was also another issue. Prices can be reduced, but the business model of eBooks seems to be based on reducing sharing, so that road block isn't going away.

  • Re:Burn an Ebook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:13PM (#45541161) Homepage

    Humans build morality based on sacramental associations. Book burning is an activity only bad people do. Deleting ebooks is an activity both good and bad people do. Ergo: book burning is likely a bad thing while deleting ebooks morally neutral.

    That seems like a sensible analysis where one is appealing to sociology for the determination of good vs. evil.

  • Re:Burn an Ebook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:14PM (#45541173)

    You can easily re-download an ebook. Deleting an ebook is closer to putting a book in a bookshelf than to burning it.

  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shinobi (19308) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:17PM (#45541229)

    No, it's not only about price. It's about the fact that the book can be read anywhere, without needing a battery charge or anything. Even many kids think about that. It's also less stressful for the eyes than looking at a screen.

  • Sample Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:20PM (#45541269)

    Half of the respondents were sourced through student moneysaving website, and half through a broader youth research panel.

    You ask people at a money saving web site and they will choose the cheeper thing. Used books are way cheaper than ebooks. If you asked Amazon shoppers you would get a different answer.

  • That's okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:25PM (#45541321)
    Look at it from the other side. 38% of a very desirable demographic using a product that has not been around that long. It's been 500 plus years since the Gutenberg Bible and only 6 years since the Kindle came out. I think that 38% is pretty damn good.
  • Re:Printed books (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekd (14774) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#45541391) Homepage

    I can't fit 500+ printed books in my pocket. For me, that's the big deal right there. I have limited physical storage space in my house, and I read about 2 books a week.

  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:30PM (#45541401)

    The per-unit cost of printing a book and shipping it in bulk to a distributer is a trivial portion of the price of a book.

    I found one breakdown of printed book cost analysis analysis [] that put printing and distribution at 20% of a book's cover price, and retailer's markup at 40%. A lot of that retailer's markup is inventory cost--what it costs the retailer to store and display copies of the book. Even though the actual *printing* cost is only 10% of the book's price, you then have to pay for dealing with the physical form and getting it to the customer, which is much tougher than getting a computer file to the customer. At a guess, I'd say that 30% to 40% of the cost of a physical book is tied to paying for its physical aspects. Not so trivial.

  • Wrong question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:30PM (#45541403)

    Ask them if it's OK to delete the last copy of an eBook and see what response you get.

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:31PM (#45541433)

    citation ?
    I want to see a real study about this supposed eye stress people keep mentioning.

    A real study would be good. At the same time, I haven't run across anyone in my personal life who doesn't prefer reading a dead-tree book over an ebook. Ebooks are certainly more convenient in many ways, especially once you factor in portability. But many (most?) ebook readers these days that I see around me are backlit (as they tend to be tablets), which does lead to a certain amount of eyestrain and can cause circadian imbalance.

  • Re:Burn an Ebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:35PM (#45541491)

    Voluntary payments work in smaller ecosystems. However as things get bigger, the tragedy of the commons starts happening. This is why an honor system peach stand in the middle of Maine works, while one near a busy city likely will be relieved of its fruit and cash box... perhaps just removed completely.

  • Re:Printed books (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:35PM (#45541503)

    To give some arguments that I don't see:

    Printed books don't break when shoved into luggage.

    My 4 year old kindle (with keyboard) has been shoved in luggage countless times and hasn't broken. I replaced it with a paperwhite kindle a few months ago because I wanted a backlight, but I still use the old one from time to time. An eBook reader may be more fragile than a paper book, but it can withstand the rigors of daily life just fine.

    The kindle is especially nice for reading at the beach or hot tub -- I just put it in a ziplock baggy to keep out the sand and water, and can read with ease. If I drop it in the water, it floats on the surface -- no need to wait days to dry it before continuing to read (if it's possible at all, and the pages aren't stuck together)

    Printed books have infinite "battery life".

    I'm still averaging a month of battery life on my kindle, and I can read while charging. It's not infinite, but it may as well be.

    Printed books don't get stolen like electronic devices.

    Someone broke into my car once and took my backpack with several books (and dirty gym clothes), they rifled through the glove compartment, but they didn't take the kindle that was tucked into a door side pocket. I'm not aware of any anti-theft devices built-in to books, so they can get stolen like everything else. Admittedly if I left the kindle on the seat next to a book, they'd likely have taken the kindle before the book.

    I break a book, I just lost that particular book - well, no. I can still read it. I lose it, all I lost is one book - not an electronic device and all the other books on it.

    I buy most of my books through sources other than Amazon, and I have a backup copy of all of them, if my kindle breaks or someone steals it, I don't lose any books, not even the one I was currently reading. And Amazon can have a replacement kindle at my door in 2 days.... or I can run the Kindle app on my phone and pick up right where I left off.

    At least some poor slobs (printers, packagers, truckers, etc ...) are making a living making these things (at no extra cost to me) as opposed to content creators who knock this off and make an infinite number at no additional cost (put it into the computer and infinite copies without any effort.).

    Why do you think that you're not paying to support the entire print industry when you purchase a book? Where do you think the money comes from to pay them if it's not built-in to the price of a book?

  • Re:Burn an Ebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0fessor (1940368) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:36PM (#45541527)

    There is a big difference between going to the library and burning books you don't want others to read and deleting a ebook off of your device to make room to download more ebooks from a large repository of ebooks {you've not deleted it from the repository just your device you can still download it again}.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:38PM (#45541549)

    I wish this was a general practice among book publishers. Buy the dead tree version, and on the inside is a card one can scratch off, scan a QR code, and download the eBook version. Best of both worlds -- a paper copy for the bookshelf, and a copy on the E-reader.

    Of course, this means standardizing on a DRM process, rather than iBook/Kindle/Nook/Kobo/Google/etc. having their own systems... or even better, no DRM at all.

  • by MemoryAid (675811) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:48PM (#45541661)

    I want to see a proper double blind study done of this.

    How do you do a double-blind study on screens?

    "You will be looking at either a back-lit screen or a book--we won't tell you which until after the study--and then we will ask you questions and examine your eyes to determine the effects."

  • Re:price breakdown (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davecb (6526) <> on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:09PM (#45541909) Homepage Journal

    Yes: one of my customers is a major publisher, and the printing costs, warehousing and transport are indeed a huge part of the cost of a book, certainly on the order of 40%. Some of this can avoided by the publisher, by having a retailer warehouse the books, but the retailer still has to pay for the warehouse, and therefor adds that cost into the price.

    There ain't no free lunch (;-))


  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:16PM (#45542005) Journal

    The article was about 16 - 24 year olds. They probably already know how to pirate. Ease of sharing was also another issue. Prices can be reduced, but the business model of eBooks seems to be based on reducing sharing, so that road block isn't going away.

    My own kids put it differently. It's the feel and smell and convenience of a book that counts. Above all, it's the feel of the paper as the pages are turned.

    Having to use an ebook reader would probably diminish their liking for books (we're all bookworms). They have little or no interest in ebooks, although we have a good number of PDF books on topics which interest them. So accessing books with file-sharing tools is also not an issue. Also, the cost is irrelevant; we give them books whenever they want, and they also get lots of books based on their marks at school (this turns out a bit pricey, but it's worth it for the motivating effect).

  • by assertation (1255714) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:36PM (#45542263)

    I think the language you used are why the young people who were polled prefer print.

    They can hand a printed book off to someone without the word "pirate" being potentially used.

  • Re:price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @04:45PM (#45542399) Homepage Journal
    Plus some random exec can't revoke your ability to read your printed book at a moment's notice.
  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @05:04PM (#45542683)
    I've always found this odd - my view is that the content of the book is all that matters, and smell and physical feel of pages is irrelevant. I read many more books, on a wider range of topics, both fiction, non-fiction, including history, now that I can read on a Kindle, an Android tablet, or even my phone. If I find myself stuck someplace I didn't expect to have time to kill, I just pull out my phone and read.

    As for convenient, I find the ability to carry around as many books as I want, browse, sample and buy more in any location at any time, to be much more convenient than paper books.

    And this from a guy who enjoyed trekking into Manhattan from Queens as a lad to go to the big bookstores, the only place I could find all the s.f. I craved in the 70's.
  • Re:price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @06:22PM (#45543457)

    They probably already know how to pirate.

    I think you'd be surprised at how horrendously incompetent most people are. I'd say young people are nowhere near as 'tech savvy' as some people like to claim they are, to the point where they have difficulty doing much beyond accessing their Facebook pages and using a few specific programs.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.