What Percentage of Children Are Reading Ebooks?

It’s no surprise that the sale of ebooks continues to increase. In a 2014 Pew Research study, 69% of adults read an ebook in the past year. But what percentage of children are reading ebooks vs. traditional books?

IMG_0759The number is actually higher than I expected. Given that most schools still have traditional libraries, the scholastic flyers come home monthly, and the book fairs are a big hit with kids, I would have thought that the number would still be quite low. Not to mention the accessibility of e-readers and other electronic devices for reading books.

In a 2013, Scholastic Study, the number of children reading ebooks has nearly doubled since 2010. Here are the highlights from the study. You can find the complete study here: Scholastic Study.

  • The percent of children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%).
  • Among children who have read an ebook, one in five says he/she is reading more books for fun; boys are more likely to agree than girls (26% vs. 16%).
  • Half of children age 9–17 say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks – a 50% increase since 2010.
  • Seventy-five percent of kids who have read an ebook are reading ebooks at home, with about one in four reading them at school.
  • Seventy-two percent of parents are interested in having their child read ebooks.
  • Eighty percent of kids who read ebooks still read books for fun primarily in print.
  • Kids say that ebooks are better than print books when they do not want their friends to know what they are reading, and when they are out and about/traveling; print is better for sharing with friends and reading at bedtime.
  • Fifty-eight percent of kids age 9–17 say they will always want to read books printed on paper even though there are ebooks available – a slight decrease from 2010 (66%).

One significant statistic is that 80% of kids who read ebooks still read books for fun primarily in print. Imagine that, print books are fun.

In another study by The Telegraph, “Parents are buying ebooks for their children in growing numbers as experts say a new generation may become more used to reading from an iPad or Kindle screen than from a traditional book.” You can find the complete study here: The Telegraph

The article also stated another study showing that children aged 10 and under tend to read e-books on laptops rather than handheld devices, however once they turn 11 they embrace e-readers like the Kindle.

Jo Henry, a director of Bowker Market Research, which carried out the study, said: “The e-book market is developing rapidly in all age groups. Children are big consumers of books and it is essential to plot their take up of this format.”

Although the statistics are a couple of years old, the article predicts that sales will continue to increase. Joan Brady, the Whitbread-prize winning author, thinks the sale of ebooks will never replace paper books completely. She states, “My feeling is that this will peak. It has not peaked yet but it will and then it will then go down.”

Some feel that the accessibility of e-readers and other handheld devices are encouraging children to read more. I can agree about the convenience factor, however, I strongly feel that it’s great stories that will keep kids reading.

For authors who you want to get their books into the hands of young consumers, publishing ebooks alone is still going to have limited reach — for now. But, as much as our kids embrace technology, you have to wonder if they will eventually be reading everything electronically.

Next to be obsolete . . . the pencil?

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