A new survey shows that readers prefer physical books more and more

The study, conducted by paper producer Stora Enso, showed that 65% of participants prefer physical books, compared to 21% who prefer e-books and 14% of audiobooks. The French showed the strongest preference for physical books of any nation. Most of them said they prefer to read or listen to fiction books to spend their free time and have a good time alone.

“These results confirmed our expectation that the paperback market will remain strong, which is good news for our printer and publishing customers,” said Jonathan Buckwell of Stora Enso, Vice President, Head of Sector Office and Paper Books. But there were some surprising results from the younger group (16 to 24 years old) surveyed, with 70% saying they prefer physical books over e-books.

This enthusiasm for books among General Zers, who are likely digital disruptors, appears to have been driven in part by the manga craze, driven by the Netflix anime series, as well as by the recent explosion of bestselling teen romance books. For older age groups, physical books have outperformed e-books in areas such as human potential and vigilance, especially during the pandemic where people have stopped to look inward.

digital detox

Motivated in part by the pandemic, people are beginning to rediscover reading, with many confined to their screens all day to work or school, and then not wanting to take them to the sofa when it’s time to relax. The majority of respondents (63%) said they read more during Covid, including nearly 70% in the UK and US. And in the youth sector, 64% said they read more, and in particular 76% of young adults in the United States. % In the UK during the period of isolation, the physicality of the book felt more comfortable for some than the digital reader. Some even cited the smell of a physical book that can evoke pleasant memories.

Share eyes and ears

But even with physical books taking a larger share of hearts and minds, the study showed that there is a time and place for all three book formats, with few respondents saying they stuck with just one. E-books and audiobooks are more convenient, lighter to carry, and can be consumed from multiple devices. And while the book and the e-book compete for a share of the eyes, the audiobook is complementary as it competes for the ears – podcasts, radio, music and other audio media.

carbon storage books

Books and paper printed on it are circular and renewable. 42% of readers said they like to keep books when they’re done reading, while 26% said they lend or donate them. Another 26% sell their books and the remaining 5% recycle or dispose of them. And while books emit carbon during production and distribution, they account for their carbon storage units once they are placed on our shelves. It is important to remember that e-books require energy to manufacture and operate their reading devices and to maintain huge server farms rather than provide their content.

Carbon neutrality was high on the agenda for most participants, with 61% of all participants and 70% of young adults saying they would pay more (on average 5.7% of the retail price) for carbon-neutral books. Most may also buy from an outlet that provides carbon neutral or carbon offset books.

Source: two faces

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