Sixteen to 24-year-olds are known as the super-connected generation, obsessed with snapping selfies or downloading the latest mobile apps, so it comes as a surprise to learn that 62% prefer printed books to ebooks.
Asked about preferences for physical products versus digital content, printed books jump out as the media most desired in material form, ahead of movies (48%), newspapers and magazines (47%), CDs (32%), and video games (31%).
“It is surprising because we think of 16-24s as being attached to their smartphones and digital devices, so it does shout out,” said Luke Mitchell of agency Voxburner, which researched questions about buying and using content with 1,420 young adults.
The two big reasons for preferring print are value for money and an emotional connection to physical books. On questions of ebook pricing, 28% think that ebooks should be half their current price, while just 8% say that ebook pricing is right.
The top-rated reasons for preferring physical to digital products were: “I like to hold the product” (51%), “I am not restricted to a particular device” (20%), “I can easily share it” (10%), “I like the packaging” (9%), and “I can sell it when used” (6%).
Mitchell said that qualitative comments about preferring physical books included things like “I collect”, “I like the smell”, and “I want full bookshelves”. “Books are status symbols, you can’t really see what someone has read on their Kindle,” Mitchell said.
Voxburner questioned 16-24 year olds online between 25 September and 18 October.
Half of the respondents were sourced through student moneysaving website Studentbeans.com, and half through a broader youth research panel.