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Who Reads Books? 16-29 Year Olds

Pew Research’s Internet and American Life Project has found that in spite of some reports to the contrary, young Americans between the ages of 16 – 29, are reading, and they are surprisingly reading more print books than eBooks. Their research found that age group: “83 percent read a book in the last year. Seventy-five percent of this group had read a print book and 19 percent had read an eBook.”

From their report:

  • 83% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year. Some 75% read a print book, 19% read an e-book, and 11% listened to an audiobook.
  • Among Americans who read e-books, those under age 30 are more likely to read their e-books on a cell phone (41%) or computer (55%) than on an e-book reader such as a Kindle (23%) or tablet (16%).
  • Overall, 47% of younger Americans read long-form e-content such as books, magazines or newspapers. E-content readers under age 30 are more likely than older e-content readers to say that they are reading more these days due to the availability of e-content (40% vs. 28%).
  • 60% of Americans under age 30 used the library in the past year. Some 46% used the library for research, 38% borrowed books (print books, audiobooks, or e-books), and 23% borrowed newspapers, magazines, or journals.
  • Many of these young readers do not know they can borrow an e-book from a library, and a majority of them express the wish they could do so on pre-loaded e-readers. Some 10% of the e-book readers in this group have borrowed an e-book from a library and, among those who have not borrowed an e-book, 52% said they were unaware they could do so. Some 58% of those under age 30 who do not currently borrow e-books from libraries say they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to borrow pre-loaded e-readers if their library offered that service.

A majority of this group of readers did not know about the availability of eBooks from their public library. The study found only 10% of the respondents had actually borrowed an eBook.

Pew’s survey group consisted of “2,986 people ages 16 and older that was administered from November 16-December 21, 2011.”

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