Have You Read This Book Report?
January 31, 2014
Do people still read? Absolutely! In fact 76 percent of all Americans read at least one book last year. But was it a print book or an eBook? Do younger people read more print than digital? Will older people read anything other than print? A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project uncovered several very interesting facts.
In the “good news for libraries” department, 76 percent of all American adults read at least 1 book last year. Even more interesting, the age group with the largest number reporting at least one book read (79 percent) was the 19-29 year old group. The typical American reads 5 books per year.
I always hoped I’d be able to catch up on my reading when I retired but it looks like older Americans don’t read as much as younger Americans. Interestingly, younger Americans (18-64 years old) read 5 books on average while older Americans read 4 books on average.
It likely isn’t a surprise, but more and more Americans are reading digital formatted books. Nearly 30 percent of everyone that read a book last year read an eBook. For people under 30 years old, nearly half of them read an eBook.
People don’t seem committed to only one format. Interestingly, 54 percent of Americans read print books exclusively. However, 87 percent of eBook readers also read print books and 35 percent of print book readers also read eBooks.
What does this mean? Right now, people want both formats as there seems to be a transition occurring from print to digital. Additionally, and somewhat surprising, younger Americans are reading at the same levels as older Americans. But less surprising is that younger Americans are moving quickly toward digital formats.
Libraries are working very hard to provide content that all our readers will appreciate. It is a very good thing that people are still reading books. After reading this report, it is clear that we have to continue to work very hard to provide physical content. However, if we are going to grow with new library users, we will have to grow our digital collections. MCPL continues to work very hard to provide access to great online content to go along with our great print collection. Helping people learn about new formats and helping people increase their level of comfort with traditional and emerging formats will help the library continue to be an important and relevant resource for future generations.
Steven V. Potter
Library Director and CEO