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Tech-Savvy Teens Still Prefer Print

Born with technology at their fingertips, today’s teens are truly digital natives, learning to speak the language of social media and digital discovery as easily as learning to talk. Yet, somewhat surprisingly, they prefer to read books in print according to recent data from Nielsen Research.

“While younger readers are open to e-books as a format, teens continue to express a preference for print that may seem to be at odds with their perceived digital know-how,”notes this article from Nielsen.

The reasons are not entirely clear. According to Nielsen it could be one of any number of factors, including their parents’ preference for print or a lack of access to a credit card for online purchases.

Still another reason could be “teens’ penchant for borrowing and sharing books rather than purchasing them, which is easier to do in print. Over half of teens are still looking for books on library or bookstore shelves. And in-store browsing is about level with browsing online for this group,” the article continues.

To be sure, their path to discovery is typically digital, via media channel like Facebook and Twitter. And they are not shy about sharing their reading, with 45% of teens saying they are “at least moderately influenced” by what their online communities are reading. But when it comes time to curl up and read, they lean toward print.

One concern for both digital and print publishers is that reading for pleasure among teens has slowed in recent years, probably due in large part to all the electronic distractions (social media, games, smartphones and the rest.) Maybe it’s time to put more books in our kids’ hands and let them go.

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