Young US readers 'like print', finds Pew

Younger readers in the US are more likely to have read a printed book in the last year than older ones, a new survey by the Pew Research Centre has found.

The centre’s Internet and American Life Project found that 75% of Americans between the ages of 16-29 had read a physical book in the last year, compared with 64% of older adults.

The survey also found that young Americans in that age group were also more likely than their elders to use libraries as quiet study spaces. They were also just as likely as older adults to have visited libraries, borrowed printed books, and browsed the stacks of books.

Kathryn Zickuhr, research analyst at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and a co-author of the report, said: “Younger Americans’ reading habits and library use are still anchored by the printed page. Some of this stems from the demands of school or work, yet some likely lies in their current personal preferences. And this group’s priorities and expectations for libraries likewise reflect a mix of traditional and technological services.”

Most Americans think that print books should have a central place at libraries, with only 23% strongly supporting moving books out of public areas to create room for things such as technology centers, meeting rooms and cultural events.

The findings are based on a survey of 2,252 Americans ages 16 and above between 15th October and 10th November 2012. They were conducted over landline phones and half on cell phones in English and in Spanish.