News

Children still prefer reading physical books, finds Scholastic

The number of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled since 2010 but children still prefer reading books for fun in print, according to Scholastic Inc's Kids and Family Reading Report, 4th Edition.

The publisher surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,074 US children aged six to 17, and their parents, to compile the research on children's reading habits.

Forty-six per cent of children responding to the survey said they had read an e-book, up from 25% in 2010. Meanwhile, 41% of the parents had read an e-book, a big leap up from 14% in 2010. Fifty-one per cent of children who have not read an e-book are interested in doing so.

However more than half (58%) of respondents aged 9-17 said they will always want to read books printed on paper even if there are e-books available, though this was a slight decrease from 66% in 2010. Eighty per cent of children still read mostly print books.

Among the children who have read an e-book, 21% said they are reading more books for fun, with 26% of boys agreeing with the statement. Only 9% overall read fewer books for fun.

Children and parents identified convenience as the most popular benefit to reading e-books, with 57% of children and 50% of parents choosing this reason. Having a read-aloud option was only chosen by 31% of children, and was therefore their least popular benefit, and 22% of parents. Meanwhile, 72% of children cited a dictionary as the most important attribute of an e-book, with 70% choosing note-taking, highlighting and commenting features and 67% choosing built-in activities to make a child a better reader and/or build vocabulary.

Children prefer e-books when they don't want their friends to know what they are reading, and when they are travelling, the survey found, but value print books more when they are reading at bedtime and when they want to share a book with friends.

In terms of children's attitudes to reading, 34% read books for fun 5-7 days a week, down from 37% in 2010, with watching DVDs, TV or video the most popular activity, done five to seven times a week by 67% of children, down marginally on 68% in 2010.

Nearly half, 49%, of parents think their child does not spend enough time reading for fun, according to Scholastic.

Boys aged 6-8 are most likely to read for fun 5-7 days a week, with 48% doing so, going down to 37% of boys aged 9-11, 28% aged 12-14 and 18% aged 15-17. However, while girls aged 6-8 are also most likely to read for fun 5-7 days a week, with 47% doing so, and that drops to 40% of girls aged 9-11, and falls again for girls aged 12-14 to 28%, it rises again for the 15-17 age bracket, to 30%.

Ninety-two percent of children said they are more likely to finish a book they choose themselves.

Meanwhile, digital reading is also meaning that adults are becoming more likely to read a children's or YA book, with 32% of parents who have read an e-book say they now read new kinds of books, including 22% saying they read more children's books, and a separate 22% saying they read more teen fiction.
 

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Children? You mean girls. It's a well known fact in publishing circles that men and boys don't read books. Reading is far too tedious and men have no time left after playing Halo on line and watching footie. Boys want to be in the adventure, making their own decisions as to the outcome, not reading somebody else's fantasy. Girls are quite different as Fifty Shades proves. It's also why publishing is almost exclusively staffed by females. Reading books is a girl thing, so tell it like it is please.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

Sorry, but that's a caricature of boys and men, of the condition of reading in this country, and of the figures presented by Scholastic. Like a million other men and boys, I'm happy to say that I don't fit your mould. Many parents, librarians, teachers, publishers and children's authors will tell of the many boys who simply love books. Offhand arguments about boys not reading are meat and drink to the barbarians who are determined to close our libraries down.

Well said, David. Music to my ears. Great that you took the time to write this. Sent email yesterday to Newcastle council opposing proposals to close the wonderful Seven Stories, National centre for children's books. Surely libraries, book shops and estores all have a place in our cultural life. It seems that with the advent of internet-book-ordering and ebooks, more people are reading than ever before (paper books included)...

@Darcy

Nonsense.

Was Jon Fine, Amazon's Director of Author and Public Relations who gave me those stats, so it must be true, right? Maybe he made it up... or maybe that's just US.

Sorry Julia, I wasn't responding to you but to Darcy.

Ah cheers for that -
easy to be paranoid these days!

Not my opinion guys, I wish men did read - just google 'men don't read books'. Yes it's an over simplification as I said, the split is 80/20.

The reality is publishers are staffed by women for a very good reason and most are looking for the next big female writer. Publishing is getting harder and harder, the best you'll do pursuing a niche market like male readers is stay in business. These days even staying in business is becoming quite a trick as Peacocks, Comet, Blockbusters, Jessops and HMV have all found out. Both Waterstones and W H Smith are seeing a decline in sales and the big publishers like Penguin are consolidating due to 220,000 ebooks being self-published a year.

Whatever the state of libraries today, what will be the point of them when it all goes electronic? You can already borrow KDP Select books from Amazon. All the out of copyright titles like Sherlock Holmes are free online. Many authors like me are only charging 99p. KDP Select titles are free for five days out of ninety, so readers download and save them for later. In Dickens day the only competition Blackwood's had was other printed matter, beer, sex, the music hall and a piano. These days watching tv, playing computer games, taking photographs, playing and watching sport, flying off to foreign lands to get drunk on beaches, writing emails along with your own ebook, all compete with reading time.

As for libraries the reality is they began turning into social centres years ago. Focusing more on this side of things might save them if local councils are in the mood. However with budget cuts that seems unlikely. If you are a male councillor who doesn't read books, and I'm guessing most are, shutting down a library to make savings makes perfect sense.

The bigger questions, pertinent to Bookseller readers, are how to save the high street and how to employ all those now being made redundant by online retail.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

My dad is dyslexic, my brother a thirteen year old teenager, yet they both read more than my shopaholic sister. Go figure.
...Also, try factoring in illiteracy in Victorian England in your Dickensian analysis of competition 'in the olden days'.

I'm sorry Darcy, but that's the biggest load of self-serving nonsense I've ever read on here.

The vast majority of the readership of the publisher I work for is male. But still, they don't read books. They must just buy them and use them as doorstops.

You seem to be living in this deluded bubble where self-publishing has replaced traditional publishing. Not gonna happen, I'm afraid. Self publishing has indeed become much more prevalent in the digital age, and why wouldn't it when it's so easy to publish your book and sell a load of downloads at 99p. Which is great - more power to those people who can reach an audience in this way. But to use this as a distortion of the actual reality of the current publishing landscape is disingenuous at best.

Yes, retailers are going to the wall, but you'll be disappointed to learn that many publishers now are detatching themselves from an over-dependance on Waterstones. Many of us don't even use WH Smith that much, unless we want to pay thousands of pounds so that they can put a few copies of our book haphazardly around a few stores.

We're getting smarter Darcy, and reaching our audience in different ways. You have to adapt to survive. This goes for retailing and publishing alike.

I'm genuinely pleased for you that you've found an audience for your work. You obviously have a passion for it, work hard at it and deserved to find it. But let's not pretend that this is the future of publishing, it's just a part of the jigsaw.

In the UK there is a monitor of who reads - as part of a constant review of cultural activity. Normally it shows that 70% of women and 60% of men have read a book in the past quarter. It is to be found on the DCMS website .. the same survey monitors other activities like going to the theatre, museums, films etc

That's why people fight - not just to keep libraries, but also to make sure they have books in

Children? You mean girls. It's a well known fact in publishing circles that men and boys don't read books. Reading is far too tedious and men have no time left after playing Halo on line and watching footie. Boys want to be in the adventure, making their own decisions as to the outcome, not reading somebody else's fantasy. Girls are quite different as Fifty Shades proves. It's also why publishing is almost exclusively staffed by females. Reading books is a girl thing, so tell it like it is please.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

@Darcy

Nonsense.

Sorry, but that's a caricature of boys and men, of the condition of reading in this country, and of the figures presented by Scholastic. Like a million other men and boys, I'm happy to say that I don't fit your mould. Many parents, librarians, teachers, publishers and children's authors will tell of the many boys who simply love books. Offhand arguments about boys not reading are meat and drink to the barbarians who are determined to close our libraries down.

Well said, David. Music to my ears. Great that you took the time to write this. Sent email yesterday to Newcastle council opposing proposals to close the wonderful Seven Stories, National centre for children's books. Surely libraries, book shops and estores all have a place in our cultural life. It seems that with the advent of internet-book-ordering and ebooks, more people are reading than ever before (paper books included)...

Was Jon Fine, Amazon's Director of Author and Public Relations who gave me those stats, so it must be true, right? Maybe he made it up... or maybe that's just US.

Sorry Julia, I wasn't responding to you but to Darcy.

Ah cheers for that -
easy to be paranoid these days!

Not my opinion guys, I wish men did read - just google 'men don't read books'. Yes it's an over simplification as I said, the split is 80/20.

The reality is publishers are staffed by women for a very good reason and most are looking for the next big female writer. Publishing is getting harder and harder, the best you'll do pursuing a niche market like male readers is stay in business. These days even staying in business is becoming quite a trick as Peacocks, Comet, Blockbusters, Jessops and HMV have all found out. Both Waterstones and W H Smith are seeing a decline in sales and the big publishers like Penguin are consolidating due to 220,000 ebooks being self-published a year.

Whatever the state of libraries today, what will be the point of them when it all goes electronic? You can already borrow KDP Select books from Amazon. All the out of copyright titles like Sherlock Holmes are free online. Many authors like me are only charging 99p. KDP Select titles are free for five days out of ninety, so readers download and save them for later. In Dickens day the only competition Blackwood's had was other printed matter, beer, sex, the music hall and a piano. These days watching tv, playing computer games, taking photographs, playing and watching sport, flying off to foreign lands to get drunk on beaches, writing emails along with your own ebook, all compete with reading time.

As for libraries the reality is they began turning into social centres years ago. Focusing more on this side of things might save them if local councils are in the mood. However with budget cuts that seems unlikely. If you are a male councillor who doesn't read books, and I'm guessing most are, shutting down a library to make savings makes perfect sense.

The bigger questions, pertinent to Bookseller readers, are how to save the high street and how to employ all those now being made redundant by online retail.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

My dad is dyslexic, my brother a thirteen year old teenager, yet they both read more than my shopaholic sister. Go figure.
...Also, try factoring in illiteracy in Victorian England in your Dickensian analysis of competition 'in the olden days'.

I'm sorry Darcy, but that's the biggest load of self-serving nonsense I've ever read on here.

The vast majority of the readership of the publisher I work for is male. But still, they don't read books. They must just buy them and use them as doorstops.

You seem to be living in this deluded bubble where self-publishing has replaced traditional publishing. Not gonna happen, I'm afraid. Self publishing has indeed become much more prevalent in the digital age, and why wouldn't it when it's so easy to publish your book and sell a load of downloads at 99p. Which is great - more power to those people who can reach an audience in this way. But to use this as a distortion of the actual reality of the current publishing landscape is disingenuous at best.

Yes, retailers are going to the wall, but you'll be disappointed to learn that many publishers now are detatching themselves from an over-dependance on Waterstones. Many of us don't even use WH Smith that much, unless we want to pay thousands of pounds so that they can put a few copies of our book haphazardly around a few stores.

We're getting smarter Darcy, and reaching our audience in different ways. You have to adapt to survive. This goes for retailing and publishing alike.

I'm genuinely pleased for you that you've found an audience for your work. You obviously have a passion for it, work hard at it and deserved to find it. But let's not pretend that this is the future of publishing, it's just a part of the jigsaw.

In the UK there is a monitor of who reads - as part of a constant review of cultural activity. Normally it shows that 70% of women and 60% of men have read a book in the past quarter. It is to be found on the DCMS website .. the same survey monitors other activities like going to the theatre, museums, films etc

That's why people fight - not just to keep libraries, but also to make sure they have books in