Which do you prefer: an e-book or physical book?

A new Stora Enso survey among 2,400 book readers of all ages in the UK, France, Germany, and the US found that people still overwhelmingly prefer physical books for their look, their feel and even their smell.

The study, rolled out during March 2022, showed 65% of respondents wanting physical books, versus 21% who preferred e-books and 14% audiobooks. The French showed the strongest preference for physical books of any nation. And most said they preferred to read or listen to fiction books for leisure and to get quality time alone.

“These results confirmed our expectations that the market for physical books is set to stay strong, which is good news for our printer and publishing customers,” said Stora Enso’s Jonathan Bakewell, VP, Head of Segment Office and Book Papers. But there were some surprise results from the youngest group (16 to 24 years) polled, where 70% said they preferred physical books over e-books.

This enthusiasm for books among Gen Zers, who are more likely to be the digital disrupters, seems partially fuelled by the manga-book craze, driven by Netflix anime series, as well as a recent explosion in top-selling teen romance books. For older age groups, physical books have been outselling e-books in areas like human potential and mindfulness – think colouring books for grownups – particularly during the pandemic as people took pause to look inward.

Digital detox
“People have begun rediscovering reading, partly prompted by the pandemic,” Bakewell says, “where many were tethered to their screens all day for work or school, then didn’t want to take them to the sofa when it was time to relax.”

A majority of respondents (63%) said they read more during Covid, including nearly 70% in the UK and US. In the youth segment, 64% said they read more and, notably, 76% of young people in the US and 73% in the UK.

“In the UK, it helped that we had nice weather during lockdown one,” recalls Bakewell, who invested in an outdoor sofa to relax on with a good book after work. During the isolation the physicality of a book felt more companionable for some than a digital reader. Books also look beautiful as a colourful objet d’art or design piece on a table or shelf. Some even cited the smell of a physical book that could evoke pleasant memories.
more at: https://www.storaenso.com/en/newsroom/news/2022/6/which-do-you-prefer-an-e-book-or-physical-book

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