People seeking quick access and portability prefer ebooks, according to a national study on ereading released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. But when it comes to reading to children, print wins out—big time.
Overall, there’s further, more detailed evidence toward an expected scenario—ebooks are on the rise. One fifth of American adults (21 percent) report that they’ve read an ebook in the past year. And the growing availability of digital content is prompting some to read more than in the past, finds the study, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
But by a huge margin, 81 percent to 9 percent, respondents who’ve read in both kinds of book formats in the past year say print books are better for reading with a child. “This is a consistent judgment throughout different demographic and tech-owning groups,” reads the report, although tablet owners (14 percent) are more likely than those who don’t own tablets (7 percent) to say they prefer ebooks for this situation.
Jennifer Perry, VP, Worldwide Publishing, Sesame Workshop, believes more research is needed. “We know that an increasing part of our audience is interacting on tablets, e-readers, and smart phones, so our aim in conducting research on apps and ebooks is to learn how best to use new technologies to make the most meaningful reading experience for these families,” she says.
“Some parents may prefer reading print books to their children, others may prefer ebooks. As tablet penetration grows, we expect that many families will do both and will make those format decisions based on personal preference and circumstances.” For example, some adults may choose ebooks during travel, but not for bedtime.
“We have not yet fully explored how a child’s actual learning outcomes may differ when it comes to reading a print book vs. a digital book,” adds Perry.
Photo by Shutterstock Images.
More of our coverage on the Pew Study, “The Rise of E-Reading”: “Library Users Like Ereading, But Ebook Readers Want to Buy Books, Pew Study Finds.”