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Internet Not Suddenly Killing Printed Books

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According to a report in the Monday (Sept. 5, 2016) Print Edition of The New York Times (New York, N.Y., USA), even with Facebook, Netflix, and other digital distractions increasingly vying for time, Americans’ appetite for reading books — the ones you actually hold in your hands — has not slowed in recent years. The Times report cited cited a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Some 65% of adults in the U.S. said they had read a printed book in the past year, the same percentage that said so in 2012. When you add in ebooks and audiobooks, the number that said they had read a book in printed or electronic format in the past 12 months rose to 73%, compared with 74% in 2012.

A total of 28% said they had opted for an ebook in the past year, while 14% said they had listened to an audiobook.
Pictured Above: The new book in the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling is not only a book many fans by far insist on having in print format, it's a book series that has specifically introduced a generation thought to be owned by digital media to some apparent advantages found in reading from printed ink on physical paper.
Lee Rainie, the director of internet, science and technology research for Pew Research, said the study demonstrated the staying power of physical books.

"I think if you looked back a decade ago, certainly five or six years ago when ebooks were taking off, there were folks who thought the days of the printed book were numbered, and it’s just not so in our data," he said.

The 28% who said they had read an ebook in the past year has remained relatively steady in the past two years, but the way they are consuming ebooks is changing.

The Pew study, based on a telephone survey of 1,520 adults in the country from March 7 to April 4, reports that people are indeed using tablets and smartphones to read books. Of adults, 13% in the U.S. said that they used their cellphones for reading in the past year, up from 5% in 2011. Tablets are a similar story: 15% said that they had used one for books this year, up from 4% in 2011.

While 6% said they read books only in digital format, 38% said they read books exclusively in print. But 28% are reading a combination of digital and printed books, suggesting that voracious readers are happy to take their text however they can get it. Physical "collectible" stories like the Harry Potter series remain far preferred in paper book format, even for a young reader base. 

"They want books to be available wherever they are," Rainie said. "They’ll read an ebook on a crowded bus, curl up with a printed book when they feel like that, and go to bed with a tablet."

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