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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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  • Burn an Ebook? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by donut1005 (982510) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:08PM (#45541101)
    I posed a question on social media recently asking if deleting an Ebook is akin to book burning. Very few saw a parallel. Most were appalled at the idea of burning a book but had no problem with deleting an Ebook. The reason they would not burn a book but were ok with deleting an Ebook? Not for the preservation of knowledge, not for passing on history, not for any other archeological reason. Just because they had a sentimental connection via their senses, the touch, the smell.
    • by Laxori666 (748529)
      Also it requires way, way more effort to print and bind a book than it does to copy a file. Once it's in digital form it's essentially valueless because the bytes are so cheap to store and transmit. This is why I think media in the future will gravitate more towards a "voluntary payment" model. That is, it'll be more successful to have millions view your work and a small % of them pay, than to try to get everybody who views your work to pay.
      • Re:Burn an Ebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:35PM (#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:Burn an Ebook? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jbolden (176878) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:13PM (#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 @02:14PM (#45541173)

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

    • Wrong question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:30PM (#45541403)

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

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Depending on how you bought it, you still have it (just stored in the "cloud" rather than on the device). So as the AC says, deleting it is more akin to putting it on the shelf. At worst, it's putting it in the trash. Have you asked whether throwing out a worn old book that was well-read is the same as burning it?

      Now, when Amazon mass-deletes books from devices remotely, that'd be considered closer to an old-fashioned book burning, I'd guess.
    • It's entirely different because people don't burn books just because they are done with them and are trying to reduce clutter. It is always done as an act of censorship, too prevent others from being able to read the books. Removing books on a public source such as project Gutenberg or a library server maybe would be closer to what book burning was about.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      I posed a question on social media recently asking if deleting an Ebook is akin to book burning.

      Another good reason to stay away from "social media" sites.

    • The reason they would not burn a book but were ok with deleting an Ebook? Not for the preservation of knowledge, not for passing on history, not for any other archeological reason. Just because they had a sentimental connection via their senses, the touch, the smell.

      Aren't you hypothesizing there? I think the aversion to burning a book is more likely to be tied to the fact that, historically, book burning is one of the first symptoms of oppression. It's often followed by imprisonment or slaughter of the people associated with the doomed books. So book burning is an act that carries emotional baggage. The same can't be said of file deletion.

  • There's already a name for this - Jean Luc Picard Syndrome.

  • At first glance I was shocked at the acceptance of ebooks this implies. On further thought however (and without reading the article) this could as well mean that 38% don't read at all. Or have a more complex opinion than can be stated as a preference.

    I refuse to believe that 38% of any population actually prefers those slow to flip through ebooks.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      I refuse to believe that 38% of any population actually prefers those slow to flip through ebooks.

      That's a problem with the reader software, not the media. If they would stop locking ebooks down and instead just produce ePubs or whatnot, you could use whatever reader you wanted. An ePub is just a specially organized zipfile with metadata files in it, HTML, and CSS.

      It doesn't need to be any more difficult to read than a static website.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      At first glance I was shocked at the acceptance of ebooks this implies. On further thought however (and without reading the article) this could as well mean that 38% don't read at all. Or have a more complex opinion than can be stated as a preference.

      I refuse to believe that 38% of any population actually prefers those slow to flip through ebooks.

      Without more details on their testing methodology, the survey may mean nothing more than any other "online survey". Were the participants chosen at random, or were they self-selected (maybe people that prefer paper books are more likely to answer a survey about paper vs ebooks)? Were participants really a random sampling, or were they all in the same demographic (i.e. were they all wealthy white college students?). Were the answers randomized, or was the first answer always "I prefer paper books" meaning t

  • Sample Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:20PM (#45541269)

    Half of the respondents were sourced through student moneysaving website Studentbeans.com, 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.

    • by davecb (6526)
      That should bias the respondents toward even lower-cost alternatives, such as "steal this book". It should also apply to used CDs, etc, something that they did no report.
  • That's okay (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:25PM (#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.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:26PM (#45541335)
    With a physical book, I can display it (coffee-table books).
    With a physical book, I can loan it out easily. If it doesn't come back, I'm out no more than the cost of the book.
    With a physical book, I can use it for component materials (burn it if I'm cold, prop up a table leg).
    Physical books are "scarce", a first edition Harry Potter e-book will never be worth more than list price. Unknown how much a signed eBook goes for.

    The point is, physical books have more value, thus should cost more. The price points for physical books is about right. So that means eBooks are overpriced. If I had to pay equal amounts for a book or an eBook, I'd pick the book every time. An eBook is worth about as much as a used book (1/2 to 1/10th original price). That's the price the books settle in at over the long term when the supply exceeds demand, which is the initial case with eBooks, as supply is infinite.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:28PM (#45541371) Journal

    Real books are much easier to reference/tag pagers and skim, easier to get a general idea of where information is, etc.. Electronic media fails totally on teh easy mental image of where information is.

  • For light reading I prefer ebooks but anything professional, I'd want a real book so I can underline passages and take notes in the margins. That all can be done with ebooks but not nearly as well as far as I'm concerned.
  • I don't buy the expensive ebooks. Just not at all. There are so many books to read, I move on. The model is changing, and once the authors have finished their contracts and can sell the ebooks directly and the new authors have moved up, the expensive ebooks will disappear.
    • You perpetuate the common myth that the cost of the printed book is what it is because of the physical media. It is not. A print on demand soft runs about $3 and a hard cover about $5-10 depending on a few options. The price you see on books is one which primarily goes to compensate authors, editors and (if not self published) the publisher. There is no inherent reason why any e-book should cost significantly less than the printed version especially when you factor in the cost of maintaining the comput

  • Anyone that knows how to use ebooks and has a decent reader is going to probably prefer them.

    The people that I've seen that prefer regular books either are very anti technology... either by age or inclination... or have never tried a quality reader.

    • Agreed, but 16 - 24 year olds are usually the people who are least likely to be luddites, the most open to change and the most likely to be all over new technology.

  • ebooks are too expensive by far. Excessive DRM is used to enforce. The reason is greed. Much of it influenced (forced) by the big players and publishing houses.

    I know there was already an author (forget the name), who has already show that he could make more money by selling many more copies at a much reduced rate.

    I will stick to my paper books thank you, and used when I can. Unless I go someplace where space is a premium and you can't easily find books. Like Space or possibly the Arctic/Antarctica, however

  • As opposed to the paper versions...

  • by Roblimo (357) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @02:53PM (#45541723) Homepage Journal

    I'm 61, not 16, and I prefer my eBook reader (my Android phone) for light fiction, especially when I'm trying to fall asleep or in a waiting room or eating a light meal in a coffee shop.

    The price of Ebooks -- yes, way too high -- doesn't directly affect me, since my local library loans me eBooks. And then there's that huge public domain Gutenberg collection and others like it.

    I'll pay for eBooks when they're half the price of mass-market paperbacks. Until then, I'll only read titles I can get for free.

  • Yes I like the smell of paper, and the ability to thumb through a book, and the ability to write a personalized note inside when giving one as a gift... but if your primary motivation is getting through content, if the experience of reading books is more important than the experience of having books, ereaders win. They are smaller, and can contain most/all of your collection simultaneously. No more having to choose which book to take on your vacation. Take all of them.
  • I don't really understand why people hang onto books. An atlas and other reference books? A Calvin and Hobbes anthology? Sure, I can accept those. ...but a Tom Clancy novel from 1994 next to Watership Down next to...? Why? I step into people's houses and see bookshelves lined with books that haven't moved in years. Are they really going to read all these books again? Why hang on to them. Send them on their way to someone else who will appreciate them.
  • by hughbar (579555) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#45542167) Homepage
    As a 63 year old, life spent in IT, I fear e-books: DRM, can't share, they will be very selective about texts [blockbusters, crowd pleasers], 'book' can be removed remotely etc. etc. That's apart from the pleasure of having a house full of book, trashy science fiction from the 60s and 70s, crime novels and even a few serious books too.
  • I expected more from this age group. With all of the awareness of shrinking natural resources, why anyone would choose printed books and their inherent danger to the environment. But, who cares that trees are cut down, thus adding to global warming, as long as I can have the feel and smell in my hands.

    I expected more of this new generation.

  • by plopez (54068) on Wednesday November 27, 2013 @06:18PM (#45543993) Journal

    Tech is often driven by the youth market. If you lose the young, you lose.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman

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