Despite teens' tech-savvy reputation, this group continues to lag behind adults when it comes to reading e-books, even with the young adult genre's digital growth relative to the total e-book market. While 20% of teens purchasing e-books, 25% of 30-44 year olds and 23% of 18-29 year olds buy digital copies. 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.
Several factors may play a role in teens' tendency toward printed publications. Parents' preference for print could have an effect or teens' lack of credit cards for online purchases. But another explanation may 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.
I found this story via DBW, which simply repeated the story without commenting on the fact that there is a key detail missing.
While Nielsen says that teens like print books, they neglect to actually say how many teens are actually buying paper books, an important detail which would put the ebook adoption rate into perspective. If more teens are buying paper books then ebook adoption is lagging, but if teens are buying print and digital at the same rate then they are not.
Nielsen also left out any data on print vs digital borrowing habits. That latter might have offered insights into why teens aren't specifically buying ebooks but could be borrowing them.
Alas, I can't find that data online, so I cannot answer this question. Oh, I could cite data from Pew Research Center on reading habits, but that's not quite the same thing, and without data on buying ebooks I am in the unfortunate position of merely saying "nuh-uh".
If you know where that data can be found, please let me know. Until I can find that data I will have to content myself with this graphic on how teens are influenced in their buying book habits: